April 14, 2022: Five planets are visible during the nighttime hours. Before sunrise, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn are in the eastern sky. After sunset, Mercury is in the west-northwest. The bright moon is in the eastern sky.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:12 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:31 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Early risers may see the moon in the western sky before morning twilight begins. By mid-twilight, the moon is below the horizon.
Four bright planets are forming a celestial dance line in the eastern morning sky. At forty-five minutes before sunup, brilliant Venus is over 9° above the east-southeast horizon. Jupiter, emerging from bright twilight, is nearly 3° above the east horizon and 15.6° to the lower left of Venus.
Jupiter moves into Pisces today. Venus and Mars appear in front of the dim stars of Aquarius. Saturn is in front of Capricornus.
Mars is 10.1° to the upper right of Venus, and Saturn is 6.3° to the upper right of Mars. The four planets, from Jupiter to Saturn, span 31.2°.
Mars and Saturn barely fit into a binocular field of view. Mars is to the upper left of Iota Aquarii while Saturn shows in the binocular with Deneb Algedi.
Mercury is beginning its best evening appearance of the year. The planet is bright, but near the west-northwest horizon at 45 minutes after sunset, nearly 4° up in the sky. Use a binocular to initially find it.
Later this month, the speedy planet passes the Pleiades star cluster. This evening the stellar bundle is over 20° to the upper left of Mercury.
Each evening Mercury sets about six minutes later and appears higher in the sky. The observing window to see the planet this evening is narrow. It sets 67 minutes after sunset. Start looking for Mercury with a binocular during brighter twilight, 30 minutes after sundown, and track it as long as possible.
Farther eastward, the bright gibbous moon, 96% illuminated, is about one-third of the way up in the east-southeast. It is in front of the stars of Virgo.
Gamma Virginis, also known as Porrima, is 7.2° to the lower left of the lunar orb. Spica, 8.8° above the horizon is 21.6° to the lower left of the moon.
Tomorrow morning, find the moon in the western sky during morning twilight.
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