If Venus is your favorite planet — besides Earth, of course — we have some fabulous news for you: Venus will be visible in the night sky during April. Skywatchers will have not one, but two chances to see Earth's "sister planet" make particularly spectacular appearances. Time to stretch out on a lawn chair and get a front-row seat to the splendid shows!
Known among experts for being an especially bright planet, Venus will appear as a "dazzling evening star" this April, according to EarthSky.org. Most easily spotted after the sun sets, Venus will stay out longer each evening in April as the days go on — and it also gets a little bit higher in the sky each week of the month. But if you want to see a show where Venus is the true "star," you'll definitely want to mark down the dates of April 17 and April 24 on your calendar.
On April 17, soon after sunset, look low in the west-northwest direction for a skinny crescent moon — and to its upper right will be Venus in all its glowing glory. The remarkable pairing with the moon will certainly make for an eye-popping display. While experts say binoculars can help enhance the viewing experience, Venus will be pretty hard to miss among a dark sky due to its signature brightness. And on April 24, you can wait about an hour after the sun slips below the horizon to catch a glimpse of not only the lovely Venus, but also a stunning star cluster to its upper right, according to Space.com.
The best part? These opportunities to see Venus will give you plenty of time to enjoy the display, as long as you go out to an unobstructed viewing area after the sun sets — weather permitting, of course. Anyone watching from the United States can see Venus set about one and a half hours after the sun at the beginning of April. By the end of the month, the planet sets about two hours after sunset. Talk about a sight for sore eyes!
Next, learn about light pillars, the gorgeous natural phenomena often mistaken for UFOs, in the video below: