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Astronomy Events – April 2016

March 31, 2016

by Adam Welbourn

Ah… finally there’s a hint of a little warmth to that sunlight! I know I must have been warm outdoors at some point in the past, but I’m struggling to remember an example of when…

The clocks have gone forwards, evenings are lighter for longer, but with so much to see in the night sky throughout April there’s no excuse to let the later starts put you off a little stargazing. At least it’s not as cold.

You know the drill by now, below you’ll find some events of astronomical interest over the coming month, so peruse at your leisure and get out under the stars!

Keep watching those skies…

Thursday 7th April – Today the New Moon rises and sets with the Sun, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae, or get a clearer look at objects usually blurred and faint in light polluted skies

The Moon is also at Perigee at a distance of 357,165 km (221,932 miles) from the Earth, the closest it will come on its current orbit

Friday 8th April – Early this evening the thinnest crescent Moon appears with a faint Mercury to its right. If you’ve got a flat enough western horizon give it a look, shown below at 19:00 UTC (20:00 BST)

If you can spot the crescent Moon you'll have a good chance of finding Mercury too, especially if you have a pair of binoculars (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

If you can spot the crescent Moon you’ll have a good chance of finding Mercury too, especially if you have a pair of binoculars! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 9th April – Planet Uranus is in conjunction with the Sun, and is currently unobservable

Thursday 14th April – This morning the Moon will be seen at First Quarter phase

Saturday 16th April – To help you identify the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in April

Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th April, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th April, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in April (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in April (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 17th April – Gas giant Jupiter travels across the evening sky with the Moon this evening. Look to the south around 21:00 UTC (22:00 BST) and you can’t miss them, an even better sight through binoculars or a small telescope

Monday 18th April – Inner planet Mercury is at Greatest Eastern Elongation today, and may be visible after sunset to the north west (keep a look out for it from 8th April onwards!)

Thursday 21st April – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 406,350 km (252,494 miles), the furthest point its orbit will take it away from the Earth this month

Friday 22nd April – Today’s Full Moon is sometimes known as the Flower Moon, Growing Moon or Awakening Moon

Taken using a Canon EOS 550D DSLR mounted to a SkyWatcher Explorer 200mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Full Moon taken using a Canon EOS 550D DSLR mounted to a SkyWatcher Explorer 200mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Sadly it is also the peak of the Lyrid Meteor shower this evening, but the light of the Full Moon will wash out all but the brightest of meteors

Monday 25th April – In the early hours of this morning the waning Moon will be joined by Saturn and Mars, forming a triangle in the sky. A great opportunity for some imaging!

Shown above at 00:30 UTC (01:30 BST) towards the South, the Moon forms a triangle with Saturn and Mars (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown above at 00:30 UTC (01:30 BST) towards the South, the Moon forms a triangle with Saturn and Mars (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 30th April – This morning the Moon is at Last Quarter phase

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:

Saturn
Mars
Jupiter
Mercury
Venus

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 Stellarium

Archive:
Astronomy Events – March 2016
Astronomy Events – February 2016
Astronomy Events – January 2016

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