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During April, Mars moves from Taurus into Gemini. The planet begins the evening about 50° up in the west below the horns of Taurus, Elnath and Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau), and above the “V” of Taurus with the bright star Aldebaran. By month’s end, the planet is over one-third of the way up in the sky after sunset. On April 30, it sets over 4 hours after sunset. Here are the highlights of Mars position during the month. Time for each daily note is one hour after sunset.
- April 1: Mars is about 50° up in the west. Tonight, it passes 2.6° to the upper right of Iota Tauri.
- April 11: About halfway up in the west, Mars passes 3.9° to the lower left of Elnath, the Northern Horn of Taurus.
- April 12: About halfway up in the west after sunset, Mars is below a line from Elnath to Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau). The planet is 4.0° to the lower left of Elnath and 3.9° to the upper right of ζ Tau, the Southern Horn of Taurus.
- April 13: Less than halfway up in the west, Mars is above the line that extends between the horns of Taurus.
- April 16: Over 40° up in the west, Mars – above the line that extends between the Bull’s horns – is 5.7° to the upper left of the crescent moon (5.0 days after the New moon phase, 20% illuminated). Fit one of the horns, the lunar crescent, and Mars into a binocular field. All four are too far apart to fit into the field simultaneously.
- April 17: Over 40° up in the west, Mars is 5.8° to the lower right of the moon (6.0d, 29%). The moon is 0.7° to the upper right of the star cluster M35 (NGC 2168). This star cluster has overall characteristics like the Pleiades star cluster and Hyades star cluster, although it is more distant. Use a binocular to spot Mars, the lunar slice, and the star cluster.
- April 24: Less than 40° up in the west, Mars moves into Gemini, 3.6° to the lower right of Eta Geminorum (η Gem,).
- April 26: Less than 40° up in the west, Mars is 0.6° to the upper right of the star cluster M35. Use a binocular to view Mars with the cluster.
- April 29: Less than 40° in altitude above the western horizon, Mars passes 2.3° to the upper right of η Gem.
Here’s more about Mars during 2021.
- 2023, December 18: Pinched VenusDecember 18, 2023: Look for Venus between the Scorpion’s claws in the southeast before sunrise. The thick crescent moon is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn.
- 2023, December 17: Celestial PairsDecember 17, 2023: Before sunrise, Venus passes Zubenelgenubi, a planet-star conjunction. After sundown, Saturn and crescent moon are paired, a planet-moon conjunction.
- 2023, December 16: Venus Clawed, Evening Crescent Nears SaturnDecember 16, 2023: Before daybreak, Venus is above the Scorpion’s southern claw. After nightfall, the crescent moon nears Saturn.
- 2023, December 15: Brilliant Morning Star, Evening Lunar CrescentDecember 15, 2023: Before sunrise, brilliant Venus approaches Zubenelgenubi, the Scorpion’s southern claw. The crescent moon returns to the western evening sky.
- 2023, December 14: Venus Nears Claws, Goodbye, Mercury!December 14, 2023: Brilliant Morning Star Venus nears the Scorpion’s northern claw, Zubenelgenubi. The thin crescent moon cues Mercury’s location in the evening sky.