Podcaster: Rob Webb

Title: Last Minute Astronomer April 2024

Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School

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follow me : @MrWebbPV on Twitter ; @lastminuteastronomer on Facebook and Instagram

Don’t forget this podcast is found on my Podbean page, Stitcher, and iTunes.  There’s also a video version on my YouTube Channel and I can be found on Twitter and Instagram as @mrwebbpv. The Pequea Valley Planetarium and its events and updates are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @pvplanetarium.

Use a sky map from to help you out.


April of 2024: Finally the month of the eclipse! A wonderful experience for North America, the Lyrid Meteor Shower, and lots of planetary action makes April of 2024 one of THE best months in a LONG time.

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April of 2024: Finally the month of the eclipse! A wonderful experience for North America, the Lyrid Meteor Shower, and lots of planetary action makes April of 2024 one of THE best months in a LONG time.

            I’m Rob, your Last Minute Astronomer, bringing astronomy to normies and nerds, with little time to spare.  As usual, we’ll start by talking about where the naked eye planets are this month, move on to the lunar phases, and finish up with a calendar of events, so you can plan ahead better than me.

Naked-eye PLANETS


Jupiter – LAST CALL FOR JUPITER!  SUPER bright in the SW, about 30˚ up in the sky, setting before 10:30pm at the beginning of April, but sinking all the way down to being lost in the twilight by month’s end.  Just find the brightest point of light in that direction, and you’ve got it.  The clearer your horizon, the luckier you’ll be as the month goes by.

Throughout the night



Mars, Saturn, (Mercury?) – On the 1st, Saturn will be about 10˚ above the ESE horizon, and Mars about 5˚ up and to the right of that.  The challenge will be how bright the sky gets at sunrise at 6:50am and how low the planets are.  But, as the month goes by, Mars will stay relatively the same distance from the Sun, while Saturn moves to the right, and passes Mars on the 10th.  Eventually, on the 30th, Saturn will be 20˚ above the horizon at sunrise, with Mars 12˚ to the left, and perhaps an appearance of Mercury 17˚ left and down from Mars.  The clearer your view, the better your chances.


Last Quarter Moon – 1st (Visible midnight into the morning)

Morning Crescents (look East in the AM)

New Moon – 8th (darkest skies)

Evening Crescents (look West after Sunset)

First Quarter Moon – 15th (Visible until midnight)

Evening Gibbous (Mostly lit, after Sunset)

Full Moon – 23rd (Visible all night)

Waning Gibbous (Mostly lit, rises later at night)

5th – 6th – CLOSE ENCOUNTER – Moon, Mars, Saturn – Get out between 5:30am and 6:30am and get a very clear look at the ESE horizon.  During that hour, you should be able to see the Moon as a VERY thin crescent, with Saturn bright and 14 ̊ to the left of the Moon, with Mars up and to the right of Saturn a little bit.  Then, on the 6th, the Moon will move to be below both Saturn and Mars, making a thin triangle.

8th – TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE – We’re going to skip over that, not because it’s not important.  I’ve been preparing for it for 6 years now.  But we’ve had PLENTY of coverage of it so far and there are better places to give you more information that you’re looking for.  In fact, I’ll link some videos I’ve created or participated in for better info.

10th – CLOSE ENCOUNTER – Mars, Saturn – Get out again between 5:30am and 6:30am and get a very clear look at the ESE.  Mars and Saturn will be as close as they’re gonna get, about ½˚ apart, with Mars on top. It’ll be tough to see, all that more rewarding when you do.

10th – CLOSE ENCOUNTER – Moon, Jupiter – Get out after sunset, look W, and the Moon will be only 4˚ to the right of Jupiter. 

22nd – LYRID METEOR SHOWER – At only 10-20 meteors per hour, it is a minor shower, and we have essentially a Full Moon to get massively in the way of observing.  The shower is greatest on the 22nd, but you might see some on the 21st and 23rd as well.  Just remember each meteor is a piece of debris left over from a comet, and we’re crashing into it at over 100,000 miles per hour, which crushes the atmosphere it hits, heating it up and causing the bright flash.  There is no real best time to see these this year, but you never know when you’ll see something awesome.

Some advice for watching:

Find a dark location and lie down in a reclining chair or something that insulates you from the ground.

Check the weather to see if the skies will be clear

Adapt your eyes to the dark by staying away from light sources or using a red light if you need to look at a star chart or not trip over something. 

And that’s the sky for April of 2024.  If you find this advance notice of the night sky helpful, please support this work by finding Last Minute Astronomer on Patreon, and don’t forget to follow Last Minute Astronomer on Facebook and Instagram.  Till next month, I’m the Last Minute Astronomer wishing you fruitful plans and clear skies. Music was produced by Deep Sky Dude and used with permission.

All you need to know to prep for the 2024 Eclipse (in Lancaster County)S2 E1 Preparing For The Eclipse – Cosmos Safari Podcast – Presented by Celestron

End of podcast:

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