Celestial Events in April 2024: Planet Parades, Solar Eclipse, Bright Comet

~8 min

Find out what’s going on in the night sky in April 2024. Here, you’ll find the forecast on planets’ visibility, learn what comets and meteor showers can be seen this month, and more. Download the Sky Tonight astronomy app to navigate the night sky.


Astronomical events in April 2024

The event dates given further are in GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), and the exact dates vary for different locations. You can learn the exact info for your location from the Sky Tonight app.

  • April 2: Last Quarter Moon; Venus (mag -3.8) passes 0°17' from Neptune (mag 8.0).
  • April 4: Small morning alignment of Venus, Neptune, Saturn, Mars. 🌟
  • April 6: Moon passes 1°46' from Mars (mag 1.2); lunar occultation of Saturn (mag 1.1).
  • April 7: Lunar occultation of Neptune (mag 8.0), Venus (mag -3.8). 🌟
  • April 8: Total Solar Eclipse (visible from Mexico, USA, Canada) 🌟; New Moon.
  • April 9: Moon passes 1°57' from Mercury (mag 6.3).
  • April 10: Mars passes 0°24' from Saturn (mag 1.1); Moon passes 3°45' from Jupiter (mag -2.0), 3°22' from Uranus (mag 5.8).
  • April 11: Moon passes 0°24' from the Pleiades star cluster (mag 1.2).
  • April 15: First Quarter Moon; Moon passes 1°30' from Pollux (mag 1.2);
  • April 16: Moon passes 3°48' from the Beehive star cluster (mag 3.1).
  • April 18: Moon passes 3°36' from Regulus (mag 1.4).
  • April 19: Mercury (mag 3.2) passes 1°41' from Venus (mag -3.9).
  • April 20: Large morning alignment of Venus, Mercury, Neptune, Mars, and Saturn. 🌟
  • April 21: 12P/Pons-Brooks (mag 4.0) at perihelion 🌟; Uranus (mag 5.8) passes 0°31' Jupiter (mag -2.0).
  • April 22: Lyrids’ peak (ZHR = 18). 🌟
  • April 23: Full Moon 🌟; Moon passes 1°30' from Spica (mag 1.0); π-Puppids’ peak (variable ZHR).
  • April 26: Lunar occultation of Antares (mag 1.1).
  • April 29: Mars (mag 1.1) passes 2'14" from Neptune (mag 7.9).

*The highlighted events are the most important events of the month.

About magnitude: the faintest magnitude for stars and planets visible to the naked eye in cities with moderate light pollution (e.g., New York City) is about 4. The limiting magnitude of an optical device depends on its specification but rarely exceeds 11.

Planets visible in April 2024

Northern Hemisphere

In April, observing Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Neptune is challenging due to their proximity to the Sun. We provide their general visibility forecast here, but to make sure you don't miss the time they'll be visible from your exact location, use an astronomical app.

Mercury (mag 2.9) is briefly visible at the start of the month, near the western horizon in Pisces during the evening.

Look for Venus (mag -3.9) in Pisces just before sunrise early in the month. Towards the end of April, Mars (mag 1.2) begins to appear in the morning hours within the same constellation.

Jupiter (mag -1.9) steals the spotlight as the easiest planet to see this month. It appears above the western horizon during the evening in Aries.

Keep an eye out for Saturn (mag 1.1) in the morning towards the end of April, when it is residing in Aquarius.

Though Uranus (mag 5.7) follows Jupiter in the sky this month, it's fainter and requires binoculars for viewing. Unfortunately, Neptune remains elusive from most Northern Hemisphere locations in April.

Enjoy your planetary observations, but remember to be careful when looking at objects near the Sun!

Southern Hemisphere

In the Southern Hemisphere, the visibility of the planets in April is better than in the Northern Hemisphere, but the observation windows are short.

At the end of the month, Mercury (mag 1.9) makes a brief appearance low in the eastern sky in Pisces during the morning, being visible for about an hour.

Venus (mag -3.9) shines brightly above the eastern horizon during the morning, also in Pisces. Look for Mars (mag 1.2) nearby, residing in the same constellation.

Jupiter (mag -1.9) can be found low in the northwest during the evening, situated in Aries. Meanwhile, Saturn (mag 1.1) sits in the eastern sky in the morning, located in Aquarius.

To spot Uranus (mag 5.7), grab a pair of binoculars and point them in the northwestern direction during the evening, also in Aries. In the morning, Neptune (mag 7.9) rises above the eastern horizon in Pisces.

Total solar eclipse on April 8

On April 8, people in North America will have a chance to see the total solar eclipse. About 652,000,000 people living in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and other countries will see at least its partial phase! This event is highly anticipated as one of the most important astronomy events of the year and for a good reason.

The April eclipse occurs during a period of maximum solar activity, which means that the solar corona (the outermost part of the Sun's atmosphere) is expected to be larger than usual. In addition, comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, a remarkable icy volcano, may also be visible in the sky during this eclipse.

For more details on this incredible event, check out our dedicated article, which includes visibility maps, schedules, and observing tips.

Planetary alignments in April 2024

We have two pieces of news for you — one good and one not-so-good! The good news is that this month we have not one, but two planetary alignments! The not-so-good news is that they’re tricky to see.

The small planetary alignment takes place around April 4. Four planets — Venus, Neptune, Saturn, and Mars — will line up in the morning sky. Although these planets will be close to the Sun, with the right timing, you'll be able to spot them. To determine when all the planets will be visible from your location, download the free astronomical app Sky Tonight.

April 4 is a general date when the alignment is well-seen for most locations. However, in Mexico City or Sydney, for example, the planets will gather in the smallest section of the sky on April 3.

The large alignment happens around April 20. Venus, Mercury, Neptune, Mars, and Saturn will gather in the morning sky. Four out of five planets are bright enough to be visible to the naked eye, but again, their proximity to the Sun will make observations difficult.

To find out more about the upcoming “planet parades”, read our dedicated article.

Planetary conjunctions in April 2024

In April, there are four planetary conjunctions:

  • April 3: Venus-Neptune (morning)
  • April 10: Mars-Saturn (morning)
  • April 20: Jupiter-Uranus (evening)
  • April 29: Mars-Neptune (morning)

For observers in the Southern Hemisphere, the Mars-Saturn conjunction on April 10 presents the best opportunity. Both planets are easily visible to the naked eye, and from these latitudes, they will rise relatively high above the eastern horizon.

For those in the Northern Hemisphere, the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction on April 20 will be the most accessible. Look for the planets low above the horizon in the evening, just after sunset. Remember to bring binoculars to spot Uranus, as it is too faint for most people to see without assistance.

A particularly intriguing conjunction will happen on April 29. Mars and Neptune will pass extremely close to each other, even closer than Jupiter and Saturn did during the Great Conjunction in 2020. However, Neptune, being the faintest planet in the Solar System, requires keen viewing skills and tools. If you have binoculars or a telescope, you can attempt to observe them in the sky. Use the Sky Tonight app to find out their precise location.

Full Moon in April 2024

In April, the Moon's phases are as follows:

  • Last Quarter Moon: April 2, 03:15 GMT
  • New Moon: April 8, 18:21 GMT
  • First Quarter Moon: April 15, 19:13 GMT
  • Full Moon: April 23, 23:49 GMT

On April 23 at 23:49 GMT, the Moon will reach its full phase. It will be positioned in the constellation Virgo. During this full phase, the Moon will be near Spica (mag 1.0), the brightest star in Virgo.

The April Full Moon is sometimes referred to as the Pink Moon. Native Americans gave it this name to symbolize the color of the wild ground phlox, one of the earliest flowers to bloom in April. Our dedicated article explains other nicknames for the April Full Moon.

Comets in April 2024

Northern Hemisphere observers, look for the remarkable "devil comet" 12P/Pons-Brooks. With an apparent magnitude of around 4, it's easily spotted with binoculars above the northwest horizon in the evening. Use the Sky Tonight app to find its exact location.

The comet hits its peak brightness on April 21 during perihelion, the closest point to the Sun. However, it'll be close to the Sun in the sky, possibly affecting observations. For the best view, catch Pons-Brooks earlier in the month when it's bright but farther from the Sun. And if you're in North America, don't miss it during the total solar eclipse on April 8! Check our detailed article to see if it's visible to the naked eye.

Also, in April 2024, observers with 6-inch telescopes can still spot the fading C/2021 S3 (PanSTARRS). The comet already reached its peak brightness in March and is slowly fading out now — its forecasted magnitude for April is 11-12. Look for the comet in the east after midnight. The comet begins the month in the constellation Vulpecula and transitions to Cygnus around April 8.

Meteor showers in April 2024

In April, two meteor showers reach their maximum activity — the April Lyrids and the π-Puppids. Their peaks occur on April 22 and 23, giving observers two nights of “shooting stars” in a row. While the April Lyrids produce about 18 meteors per hour, the π-Puppids are known as a variable meteor stream. Learn more about upcoming meteor showers in our article.

Deep-sky objects in April 2024

April brings an exciting galaxy season, perfect for observers armed with telescopes or binoculars. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, look for the Leo Triplet — a trio of spiral galaxies (M65, M66, and NGC 3628, also known as the Hamburger Galaxy) nestled in the constellation of Leo. From our vantage point on the Earth, these galaxies appear tilted at different angles, giving them a unique appearance.

If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, point your binoculars at the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy in Hydra — one of the brightest and closest galaxies in the night sky. It's easy to see with binoculars, but use a small telescope to see its spiral structure.

But April has more to offer than just galaxies. Set your sights on M3, the first Messier object discovered by Charles Messier. This cluster contains about 500,000 stars and spans nearly half the size of the Moon's disk.

Explore these celestial objects and more in our article on the Top 10 Deep-Sky Objects to Observe in April. By the way, if you missed the opportunity to participate in the Messier Marathon last month, you have another chance on the weekend of April 6-7! Read our guide to find out what a Messier Marathon is and why it is important for all astronomy enthusiasts.

How to navigate the night sky?

While navigating the night sky can be tricky, there is a useful tool for doing so — the Sky Tonight mobile app. Launch the app and point your device at the sky to learn what objects you are looking at. To find a specific celestial object, use the search feature in the app. We prepared some short video tutorials on how to use the app to its full potential.

Celestial events in April: bottom line

April is packed with celestial highlights! From planetary alignments to comet sightings and meteor showers, there's something for everyone. Use the Sky Tonight app for easy navigation. Don't miss the bright comet, total solar eclipse, planetary conjunctions, and the breathtaking Full Moon. Get outside and enjoy the April night sky!