After passing Jupiter and Saturn late in March, the thin waning crescent moon appears near Venus on April 1. Locate a clear east-southeast horizon and look about 45 minutes before sunrise. This is during mid-twilight when the sky is brightening, but brilliant Venus is easily found. It is low in the sky, only 4° up in the sky, Venus is nearly 9° to the left of the waning crescent moon that is only 14% illuminated and just a few days before the moon reaches its New phase.
Venus and Mercury appear near each other on mid-April. There is no conjunction as Mercury does not pass Venus. Mercury moves faster and, typically, its motion causes the two to pass each other. During this event, the two planets do not pass each other but they move within 5° of each other. This event is know as a quasi-conjunction.
Mercury is in a very unfavorable apparition to observe. It appears very low in the east at Civil Twilight, about 30 minutes before sunrise, when the sun is 6° below the horizon. During this appearance this speedy planet does not rise before Nautical Twilight – which occurs about an hour before sunrise; so Mercury visible in a very bright sky, near the horizon. At its greatest elongation, it is only 4° in altitude. Find a clear horizon and use a binocular. First locate Venus then look through your binocular to locate this elusive planet.
The Venus-Mercury gaps:
April 13: 4.5°
April 14: 4.4°
April 15: 4.4°
April 16: 4.3°
April 17: 4.3°
April 18: 4.3°
April 19: 4.4°
April 20: 4.5°
On these mornings, it’s possible to see four planets in the morning sky — Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn — although a binocular may be needed to locate Saturn. The Ringed Wonder is low in the southern sky, less than one-third of the way up in the sky. Jupiter is farther west, to the right of the south direction, at about the same height as Saturn above the horizon.
On a recent trip to a more southerly latitude, the morning planets presented themselves high in the sky. This album shows them on the mornings of February 28, March 1, and March 2, 2019. When travelling farther south, the southern stars and planets appear higher in the southern sky.
Brilliant Morning Star Venus, now appearing low in the southeast, shines during morning twilight with Saturn and Jupiter. The Venus-Saturn gap is 15 degrees. Jupiter is farther toward the south, over 25 degrees to the upper right of Saturn.
The moon joins the morning display of planets. The moon is slightly gibbous and reaches its last quarter this morning. The Imbrium Basin, is at the top of the moon near the terminator, the day-night line. Copernicus, the bright spot below Imbrium, is an impact crater. The moon is near 27 degrees to the upper right of Jupiter.
The planets are farther east. Brilliant Morning Star Venus is well past Saturn, about 7.5 degrees. Venus continues moving away from Saturn and the RInged Wonder appears slightly higher in the sky each morning.
Jupiter is nearly 26 degrees to the upper right of Saturn.
This morning, three days after the Venus-Saturn conjunction, the brilliant Morning Star Venus is 3.4 degrees to the left of Saturn. Watch the Venus-Saturn gap continue to grow during the next several mornings. Jupiter is about 26 degrees to the upper right of Saturn.