2023, April 4: Venus Matches Sirius, Mercury Approaches Best View


April 4, 2023: Brilliant Venus and Sirius are about the same height above the horizon during the early evening.  Mercury is approaching its best evening sighting of the year for northern hemisphere sky watchers.

Photo Caption – 2020, September 18: Brilliant Morning Star Venus appears with Sirius, Procyon, Castor, Pollux, Betelgeuse and Rigel.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:29 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:19 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.  Times are calculated by the U.S. Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.

Summaries of Current Sky Events


Here is today’s planet forecast:

Morning Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, April 4: The bright moon is in the western sky before sunrise.

The bright nearly-full moon is low in the west during morning twilight.  The moon reaches the Full (Pink) moon phase tomorrow at 11:34 p.m. CDT.

Chart Caption – 2023, April 4: At forty-five minutes before sunrise, Saturn is low in the east-southeast.

Saturn continues to make its grand appearance in the east-southeast at forty-five minutes.  It is over 7° above the east-southeast horizon.  Find a clear sight line in that direction.

The planet is not exceptionally bright, like Venus and Jupiter, but easily located.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, April 4: During the early evening, the nearly-full moon is in the east-southeast.

Jupiter is moving toward its solar conjunction in a week.  This evening it sets about twenty minutes after the sun.

The evening is dominated by the bright, nearly-full moon, starting the night in the east-southeast. The moonlight washes out dimmer stars and celestial wonders.  It casts a bright light on the ground that is bright enough for a nighttime walk without the need for a flashlight.

Chart Caption -2023, April 4: Venus and Mercury are in the west after sundown.

Brilliant Venus is over 25° up in the western sky at 45 minutes after sundown. It is stepping eastward in front of Aries, near the Taurus border.

Chart Caption – 2023, April 1-April 22: Venus moves from Aries into Taurus, passing the Pleiades and the Hyades.

The Evening Star is approaching the Pleiades star cluster.  This evening, the planet is 8.0° below the star cluster, too far apart to fit into the same binocular field of view.  Tomorrow, they fit, but snugly on opposite sides.

Each evening, watch the planet close in on the star cluster.

This evening, note that Venus and Sirius, in the south-southwest, are about the same altitude – height above the horizon.

Mercury, nearly 8° above the west-northwest horizon, is over 20° to the lower right of Venus.  The speedy planet is nearing its latest sunset time intervals, 100 minutes after sunset, beginning in three evenings.  This is the best evening appearance of the year from the northern hemisphere.

From the mid-northern latitudes, the planet is never much higher in the sky after sundown and it is always visible during evening twilight or morning twilight, never in a dark sky.

Chart Caption – 2023, April 4: In front of Gemini, Mars is below an arc of stars made by Procyon, Pollux, Castor, and Capella.

Mars is higher in the west-southwest, over 40° to the upper left of Venus.  The Red Planet is below an arc of four bright stars in the western sky – made by Procyon, Pollux, Castor, and Capella – near Castor’s heel, Tejat Posterior.  Tomorrow the planet passes that star.

Mars is fading noticeably, now dimmer than Capella, but brighter than Castor and Pollux.

Chart Caption – 2023, March 26-April 5: Mars moves through the same binocular field with Propus and Messier 35 (M 35).

Even with the bright moon, try to find the star cluster known as Messier 35 (M 35) with a binocular.  Mars is 3.7° to the upper left of the cluster tonight.  The heel star and toe star, Propus, are in the field of view with Mars and the star cluster.



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