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What's Up for April

Look up at the night sky this month and you’ll see great views of Saturn and the moon.

Hello and welcome. My name is Jane Houston Jones and I’m an educator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Each month I’ll be telling you about some cool views you can see in the night sky.

One of the views I love to share is Saturn. Everyone is always amazed that they can actually see the rings.

Just step outside after sunset and you’ll see Saturn. It’s a bright golden glow nearly overhead.

You don’t even need a telescope.

I get to see a lot of Saturn because I work on the Cassini mission, which is sending back stunning views of the ringed planet and its fascinating moons almost every day.

There is another planet you can see this month, it’s Venus. Just look low in the west after the sun sets. Venus is the brightest object that you’ll see.

But wait, there’s more! Between April 21st and April 25th, you’ll see the moon  grow larger and appear higher in the sky each night.  By the  25th you’ll find it above Saturn!

Here’s a viewing tip for next month.  In late May – you’ll be able to see asteroid Vesta. It won’t be as bright as the big dipper stars, and you’ll definitely have to get away from city lights to see it. 

You’ll hear more about Vesta when NASA’s Dawn mission launches in June. Dawn will travel to Vesta and the largest asteroid, Ceres.

You can learn more about NASA missions by visiting www.nasa.gov.

You can find our sky charts and resources for amateur astronomers at education.jpl.nasa.gov. Just click on the What’s Up button.

That’s all for this month. I’m Jane Houston Jones.

I really enjoy viewing the solar system through my own telescopes and sharing the views with others.

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