Both of the inner-most planets of our Solar System, Mercury and Venus, will be seen at their best for all of 2023 during the first two weeks of April this year. Mercury will appear 5 degrees above the western horizon at magnitude –1.1, 45 minutes after sunset on April 1; itself setting a hour after sunset. Venus, stunningly bright and so, unmistakable, will be above and left of Mercury.
Mercury gains altitude each night until April 19th and on April 21st, the crescent Moon joins the planet, just above and left of it. Venus will move along a path between two star clusters associated with Taurus the Bull; the Pleiades and the Hyades. By April 10th Venus will be just below the Pleiades (M 45)open star cluster. Check this out with binoculars!
On April 22nd the Moon and Venus will appear very close together; with both of them near the Hyades open star cluster. This will be another great view to see through binoculars. By the end of April, Venus will have moved further east and lie between the horn stars of zodiac constellation Taurus the Bull.
Mars has faded considerably in the last two months; it is over 100 million miles from Earth now, but it will be seen all month among the stars of the Gemini twins. It will not set until around midnight. On April 25th the waxing crescent Moon will just above the red planet. Both of them will be seen in the sky just below Castor and Pollux, Gemini’s two 1st magnitude stars, that mark the heads of each of the twins.
Saturn returns to view but in the early morning eastern sky rising around 5 am. However the observing window for it will not improve much until the end of the month. Early on it will be quite low to the east horizon. Jupiter will not be visible at all this month. It is in conjunction with the Sun. But things improve for seeing both Saturn and Jupiter in the eastern mornings skies by May; and then into the summer months.
The LYRID meteor shower peaks on April 22nd with ideal conditions for it because the Moon will not interfere. Lyra the harp in the sky from where the meteors appear to come rises close to the zenith(top of the sky) just before dawn. This is toward the east-northeast sky. The rate of meteors from the Lyrids averages about 18 to 25 per hour.
The Full Moon of April is on the 6th.