SAN ANTONIO (April 3): The sky is a celestial circus this week with five different planets arcing across the night sky. As darkness sets in this week, Venus and Jupiter appear in the eastern sky while Neptune shines high in the western sky after sunset. Mars will also make an appearance early morning before sunrise this week as it heads to its opposition with the Sun in September 2022.
As the month begins, Jupiter is already well placed for evening telescope viewing as it moves into Sagittarius and brightens to magnitude -2.5. Look for the giant planet rising about midnight local time at the beginning of the month, but as the month progresses it'll rise four minutes earlier each night and will be overhead by 10 p.m. by month's end.
Venus, which is currently shining as a half-illuminated crescent, will be visible with Jupiter in the east as darkness falls starting on Monday night. On Wednesday, the two bright planets will be nearly at their closest conjunction, with the gap between them only a few moon's width wide (or a half a degree) says NASA. Observers in the southern United States and Mexico can watch as the waning moon passes in front of Venus on Thursday evening, covering the star Psi1 at 11:33 p.m., followed by Psi2 at 1:10 a.m.
As the waning moon clears the treetops of the eastern sky, look for the ice giant planet Uranus to the lower right of the moon. You may need binoculars to spot the dim, bluish-white planet. As the month ends, Jupiter's slowing easterly motion through eastern Aries will close the gap with Uranus, reducing the distance between the two to only three finger-widths or a couple of degrees.