As much as I love the longer dark winter evenings I’ll admit I am now thoroughly bored of the cold. The clocks going forward an hour at the end of March has helped give us the first hints of the lighter summer evenings to come, and it’s a good feeling!
So while dreaming of that summer barbecue with friends leading in to a long evening sky-watching, below I’ve listed some spring astronomical events to encourage you to become reacquainted with the great outdoors. Have fun and stay safe all.
Keep watching the skies…
Wednesday 1st April - Our Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 406,010 km (252,282 miles), the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth this month
Saturday 4th April - Today’s Full Moon is sometimes known as the Flower Moon, Seed Moon or Pink Moon
It also sees a Total Lunar Eclipse occur, visible from eastern Asia, Australasia, the Pacific Ocean and western parts of North America, but sadly not to those of us in the UK (our last partially visible eclipse was in April 2013)
Monday 6th April - The planet Uranus is in Conjunction with the Sun and is currently unobservable
Friday 10th April - Inner planet Mercury is in Superior Conjunction today
Saturday 11th April - Venus is still present as a spectacularly bright object in the early evening sky. Tonight it will appear to pass close to the Pleiades or “Seven Sisters” (so it should be a great photographic target!)
We managed to get a few shots when Venus made a similar pass by the Seven Sisters in 2012. If you have some binoculars to help get a closer look it will be well worth your time!
Sunday 12th April - This morning our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase
Thursday 16th April - To help identify the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in April
Friday 17th April - Today the Moon is at Perigee (the closest point of its orbit to the Earth) at a distance of 361,025 km (224,331 miles)
Saturday 18th April - Today the New Moon rises and sets with the Sun, so it’s a good time to observe deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae which are usually harder to see when the Moon is shining in the sky
Thursday 23rd April - The annual Lyrid meteor shower peaks this evening, with the radiant (the point all meteors appear to originate from) in the constellation Lyra which you’ll find low to the north east around 22:00 UTC/23:00 BST
The best time to see the meteors will be after midnight when the Moon has set, so if your skies are clear and you can face the late night it has got to be worth a look hasn’t it? Get outside and crane your necks!
Sunday 26th April - This morning the Moon is at First Quarter phase
Wednesday 29th April - The Moon is at Apogee today for the second time this month, at a distance of 405,085 km (251,708 miles)
As usual, if you take any photos throughout April you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!
Planets visible this month:
Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!
To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! :)
Guide images created with StellariumFollow @sky_watching