Before sunrise on Saturday (April 9), look up to the sky 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 southeastern morning sky. Saturn moved steadily toward Mars, reaching its closest proximity on Tuesday, April 5, when the planets were only half a degree apart. While the three worlds still seem close together, Saturn is slowly moving away from Mars every day, according to a statement from NASA (opens in new tab)†
Venus can also be seen at 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 the three planets aligned.
Related: The brightest planets in April’s night sky: how and when to see them
Saturday there is even more to see in the twilight sky. In addition to the planetary trio, the stars Castor and Pollux shine brightly in the constellation Gemini the Gemini. The stars appear at the bottom right of the moon, which is reaching its first quarter.
Castor and Pollux are the two brightest stars in the constellation and represent the heads of the twins with fainter stars lining the couple’s bodies. Pollux is a red giant star located 33 light-years from Earth, while Castor is actually made up of six stars, located about 51 light-years away.
Skywatchers can use the moon as a reference point to spot the twin stars, as the moon passes near Castor and Pollux on April 8 and 9, according to EarthSky.org (opens in new tab)†
Reaching its first quarter on April 9, the moon will appear prominently in the evening sky. It will be visible from approximately 7:47 PM EDT (2347 GMT) and set in the middle of the night. Skywatchers have the best viewing opportunity shortly after sunset, when dusk turns to darkness.
The moon rises 69 degrees above the southwest horizon and appears almost exactly half-illuminated. It will dip below the horizon at 03:06 EDT (0706 GMT). However, the moon will linger longer in the night sky in the coming days, setting later each day, according to In-The-Sky.org (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 photographic equipment, consider our best astrophotography cameras and best astrophotography lenses to get ready for the next planet sight.
Editor’s Note: If you take a beautiful photo of the night sky and want to share it with Space.com for a story or gallery, let us know! You can send images and comments to email@example.com†