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Planets visible to the naked eye

  • Photo: Sophie Desrosiers
    Planets visible to the naked eye

    From April 5 to 19, 2021

    Mercury is presently too close to the sun and is not visible. The tiny planet passes in inferior conjunction (behind the sun) on April 18 and will reappear in the evening sky a few days later.

    Venus is too close to the sun and is not currently visible. The planet passed on the far side of the sun (superior conjunction) on March 26, and will gradually reappear as the bright Evening Star after mid-April.

    Mars is receding from Earth, and although its brightness has decreased a lot since opposition last October, it’s still fairly bright. The Red Planet appears at dusk about 50 degrees high in the west-southwest, and about 15 degrees above bright star Aldebaran. Mars sets in the west-northwest around 1:00 a.m. The crescent Moon shines near Mars on the evenings of April 16 and 17.

    Jupiter is now easily visible at the end of the night and at dawn: The Giant Planet emerges in the east-southeast about two hours before sunrise. At dawn, it shines a dozen degrees above the southeast horizon. On the morning of April 7, the waning crescent Moon passes 5 degrees below Jupiter.

    Saturn is now visible at the end of the night and at dawn. Look for Saturn very low in the east-southeast, about two and a half hours before sunrise. During dawn, Saturn shines some 15 degrees above the southeast horizon, a dozen degrees to the right of very bright Jupiter. On the morning of April 6, the waning crescent Moon hangs 4½ degrees below Saturn.

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