High in the southwest this evening, as twilight fades after 9:00 PM, you’ll find the faint constellation Cancer, the Crab. While we associate Cancer the Crab with summer, due to its astrological connections, April is a wonderful time to see it. Look between the Twin stars of Gemini, and the star Regulus in Leo the Lion, for a faint, upside-down “Y” figure.
Due south this evening at 9 o’clock, the brightest star in Leo, the Lion, Regulus reigns above a large but much less prominent constellation, that of the Water Snake, named Hydra. The snake’s head appears as a collection of stars half-way between Regulus, and Procyon, midway up in the southwest. The snake’s body curves back and forth to the lower left.
The steely blue star rising in the north-northeast, low but due northeast at 9:45 PM, is Vega, from the German “Wega”, and from the Arabic “Al Wika”, the “swooping or diving eagle”. In modern times it is the brightest star in Lyra, the Lyre, a harp-like instrument, home to the meteor showers over the next few nights.