Look up at the sky before sunrise on Saturday (April 9) to see a trio of planets, twin stars and the Moon entering its next phase.
The planets Venus, Mars and Saturn appear close together in the southeast morning sky. Saturn was steadily moving toward Mars, reaching its closest proximity on Tuesday, April 5, when the planets were only half a degree apart. While the three worlds still appear close together, Saturn is slowly moving away from Mars each day a statement from NASA (opens in new tab).
Venus can also be seen to the lower left of Saturn and Mars, rising about 10 degrees above the southeastern horizon before sunrise. You have to get up early to see how the three planets align.
Related: The brightest planets in the night sky in April: how and when to see them
There’s more to see in the twilight sky on Saturday. Alongside the trio of planets in the constellation of Gemini, stars Castor and Pollux shine brightly. The stars appear at the lower right of the Moon, which is entering its first quarter phase.
Castor and Pollux are the two brightest stars in the constellation and represent the heads of Gemini, with fainter stars outlining the couple’s bodies. Pollux is a red giant star 33 light-years from Earth, while Castor is actually made up of six stars about 51 light-years away.
Skywatchers can use the moon as a reference point to spot the twin stars when the moon passes near Castor and Pollux on April 8 and 9, according to EarthSky.org (opens in new tab).
On April 9, the moon reaches its first quarter stage and appears prominently in the evening sky. It will be visible around 7:47 p.m. EDT (2347 GMT) and will set in the middle of the night. Skywatchers have the best viewing opportunity just after sunset, when dusk turns to darkness.
Rising 69 degrees above the southwestern horizon, the moon appears almost exactly half lit. It will fall below the horizon at 3:06 am EDT (0706 GMT). However, according to In-The-Sky.org, the moon will be longer in the night sky over the next few days and set later each day (opens in new tab).
If you’re looking for binoculars or a telescope to see planets in the night sky, check out our guides to the best binoculars and best telescopes. If you need photography gear, consider our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography to prepare for the next planet sighting.
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