2023, April 28: Moon Nears Regulus, Three Bright Planets


April 28, 2023: Saturn is in the east-southeast before sunrise.  The bright moon nears Regulus and Leo.  Brilliant Venus and Mars are in the western sky after sundown.

Photo Caption 2020, October 12: The moon (overexposed in the image) is 10.5° to the upper right of Regulus. Venus is over 11° to the lower left of the star.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:51 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:46 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:

Chart Caption – 2023, April 28: Saturn is in the east-southeast before daybreak.

Morning Sky

Saturn is climbing into the predawn morning sky.  It passed behind the sun on February 16th, moving from evening sightings to the morning side of the sky.  It rises two minutes earlier each morning.  This morning find it over 15° above the east-southeast horizon.  While not as bright as Venus or Jupiter, the Ringed Wonder is among the brightest “stars’ in this morning’s sky.

Jupiter follows Saturn into the eastern sky before daybreak.  Only rising twenty-five minutes before the sun, the Jovian Giant is lost in the glare of approaching sunrise.  Look for it next month.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, April 28: Brilliant Venus is in the western sky after sundown, near the Bull’s horns.

Mercury is rapidly moving from the western evening sky to an unfavorable eastern sky morning view.  It sets about 25 minutes after the sun, losing nearly 10 minutes of setting time compared to sunset each evening.

Venus is “that bright star” in the western sky after nightfall.  It steps eastward each evening in front of Taurus, approaching Elnath, the Bull’s northern horn.

At forty-five minutes after sundown, the Evening Star is over 30° above the western horizon, 3.9° to the lower left of Elnath, and 6.5° to the lower right of Zeta Tauri, the southern horn. Watch it move closer to Elnath and then between the horns.

Notice the bright stars that are in the south during winter’s evenings.  During late April, they are lower in the west.  Orion’s Betelgeuse and Rigel are to Venus’ lower left.  Sirius, the night’s brightest star, is low in the southwest, likely twinkling wildly.  These stars soon disappear into bright evening twilight, reappearing in the eastern sky before sunup during the summer months.

Chart Caption – 2023, April 28: The moon nears Leo’s Regulus.

The bright moon, 61% illuminated, is high in the south-southwest as the sky darkens.  It is nearly 10° to the upper right of Regulus, meaning “the prince,” Leo’s brightest star. That distance is about the length of a fist – from pinky finger to thumb knuckle – when your arm is extended.

Regulus and the other nearby stars are whitewashed by the brightening moonlight.  To see the stars, block the moon with your hand as you would to shield your eyes from the sun.

Tomorrow morning, during daytime in the Americas, nighttime farther eastward, the moon eclipses or occults the star Eta Leonis (η Leo) for sky watchers in India and Indonesia.

Chart Caption – 2023, April 28: Mars is in front of Gemini, below Pollux.

Mars, less than 30° to the upper left of Venus, marches eastward in front of Gemini’s distant stars.  The planet is over halfway up in the west-southwest, 7.4° below Pollux, one of the Twins.  The Red Planet passes the star on May 8th.

Venus continues to cut the gap to Mars.  Earth’s Twin planet moves eastward against the distant stars about twice Mars’ pace. 

Tomorrow evening the moon’s phase is brighter and farther eastward.  The Full Moon phase occurs May 5th.



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