Posts Tagged ‘April’

h1

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

h1

Astronomy Events – April 2015

March 31, 2015

by yaska77

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)

On 25th April 2013 the Full Moon also experienced penumbral eclipse, shown above at 20:22 UTC (21:22 BST) with the Earth’s shadow visible across the northern edge (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

On 25th April 2013 the Full Moon experienced penumbral eclipse, shown above at 20:22 UTC (21:22 BST) with the Earth’s shadow visible across the northern edge (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

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!)

Look low to the west soon after sunset and you can't fail to spot Venus near the fainter but equally beautiful Pleiades cluster, shown above at 20:00 UTC / 21:00 BST (click to enlarge) Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Look low to the west soon after sunset and you can’t fail to spot Venus near the fainter but equally beautiful Pleiades cluster, shown above at 20:00 UTC/21:00 BST (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

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!

The bright planet Venus shines next to the Pleiades cluster, and the setting Jupiter is accompanied by some of her moons (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The bright planet Venus shines next to the Pleiades cluster, and the setting Jupiter is accompanied by some of her moons at bottom right (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

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

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

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

Wednesday 22nd/
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

This one shows a nice long clear Perseid tail, with more definition to the shap at the end of the streak (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

We’re hoping to capture some Lyrid meteors this year, as they can give you some nice shots like this Perseid meteor we caught streaking away from the smudge of the Andromeda galaxy (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

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:

Jupiter
Mars
Mercury
Saturn
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 2015
Astronomy Events – February 2015
Astronomy Events – January 2015

h1

April showers of the Lyrid kind

April 17, 2013

by yaska77

Beginning now until the 25th of this month we see the April Lyrid meteor shower (peaking on April 22nd before dawn). The meteors in this shower tend to be bright and leave persistent trails as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

In recent years the shower has seen anything from 10 to 20 meteors per hour.

01-wye-downs-perseid-12082012-sky-watching-co-uk

We caught this Perseid meteor flashing across the night sky in August 2012, so we’re hoping to have clear skies for the Lyrids! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Although that might sound like a fairly mediocre “shower”, it has been known for the Lyrids to surge to over 100 per hour! This is what makes this shower so difficult to predict. How many will we see?

Will it be a downpour of shooting stars or a washout this year!?

Lyrid Meteor Radiant 22.04.2013 01.00UTC Sky-Watching.co.uk

Although the meteors will seem to originate from Lyra, they can appear all over the sky. Shown above at 01:00 UTC (02:00 BST) on 22nd April just at the start of the peak (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Lyrid meteors originate from a radiant point in the constellation of Lyra which is where this shower gets its name. The best time to look for Lyrid meteors is late in the evening after 21:00 UTC (22:00 BST) however, the waxing gibbous Moon will still be in the sky until the early hours so its light may wash out the fainter meteors.

02-perseid-from-andromeda-12082012-sky-watching-co-uk

Another Perseid from August 2012, this one has more definition to the shape at the end of the streak and is seen heading away from the Andromeda galaxy (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Don’t let this deter you though, the unpredictable nature of the Lyrid shower is what makes it worth watching so we hope you have clear skies!

Now we’ve expressed an interest we’re expecting it to be cloudy, but amateur astronomers are nothing if not optimistic 🙂

h1

Astronomy Events – April 2013

March 31, 2013

by yaska77

Unfortunately for us, since we told you about the visit of comet PANSTARRS our own skies have seen nothing but clouds! It’s been great seeing all the photos on Twitter, but we’re gutted we’ve not had chance to image it ourselves.

Still, to be a stargazer you have to keep your chin up, so we’ve listed some interesting happenings for April to whet your interest so get out there and keep your eyes on the skies!

Wednesday 3rd April – Today is a last quarter Moon

Monday 8th April – The thin waning crescent Moon will be close to Mercury just before dawn this morning, however the planet will be lost in the brightening sky

Wednesday 10th April – The New Moon this morning rises and sets with the Sun, so it is a good time to observe deep sky objects with the glare from the Moon absent

Saturn can be a great sight through a small telescope or good binoculars, we’re hoping to image it again soon as our only successful previous attempt was a while ago!

saturn-stacked-sky-watching-co-uk

Still one of the most amazing sights to see with your own eyes, Saturn and its rings look spectacular through a scope, look South East around 22:30 UTC/23:30 BST (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Sunday 14th April – The waxing crescent Moon will appear quite close to the gas giant Jupiter this evening, you’ll be able to find both between the “horns” of constellation Taurus the Bull (see below)

Moon and Jupiter in Taurus (08042013) 20.00UTC Sky-Watching.co.uk

If you look due West at 20:00 UTC (21:00 BST) on 14th April you’ll see the Moon and Jupiter between the horns of the constellation Taurus (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Monday 15th April – Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 404,865 km (251,571 miles), the farthest point in its orbit to the Earth

Wednesday 17th April – The planet Mars is in conjunction with the Sun, so is unobservable for the month

Early morning at the moment comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) is located just to the bottom right of the constellation Cassiopeia (the W to the North). We’re still hopeful of catching a glimpse of this so far elusive celestial object!

Comet PANSTARRS 17042013 0230UTC Sky-Watching.co.uk

Now its brightness is diminishing comet PANSTARRS may prove difficult to spot, but it’s still there! Shown 17th April at 02:30 UTC/03:30 BST (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Now circumpolar from the UK since the beginning of the month (meaning it doesn’t set), if it follows predictions PANSTARRS may still be naked eye visible if your skies are dark enough

Thursday 18th April – Tonight’s Moon is seen in the First Quarter phase

Sunday 21st April – For information about the Lyrid meteor shower which peaks over the next few evenings, click here

Thursday 25th April – The Full Moon tonight is also sometimes known as the Awakening Moon, Seed Moon or Wildcat Moon, which can be seen close by Saturn all evening

At around 20:00 UTC (21:00 BST) the Moon will be mid-way through a very slight penumbral eclipse, seen as a slight dimming of the Moon’s northern edge caused as it skims the bottom of the Earth’s shadow

Moon and Saturn (25042013) 23.00UTC Sky-Watching.co.uk

A Full Moon can wash out most of the stars in the sky around it, but the brightness of Saturn should still make it visible, and look out for the very partial eclipse around 20:00 UTC (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 27th April – Today the Moon is at Perigee at a distance of 362,265 km (225,101 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth

Sunday 28th April – The planet Saturn is at opposition in Libra, meaning that it’s in an opposite position to the Sun in the sky, so is observable from dusk until dawn! This is also the time of year it appears at its brightest

Tuesday 30th April – Venus returns to our evenings skies (albiet briefly) to the west just after sunset, but may be tricky to spot in the twilight

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Saturn
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 2013
Astronomy Events – February 2013
Astronomy Events – January 2013

h1

Yay yay – the Allen Telescope Array!

August 16, 2011

by tte-77

skywatching Allen Telescope Array SETI

The I#impressive Allen Telescope Array - Credit: SETI

Telescopes looking for extra terrestrial intelligence should re-open within weeks after donors replaced income lost in public funding cuts.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, had to shut the £18m Allen Telescope Array in April but donors have since raised more than £120,000 with more than 2,400 people contributing to the fund. Donors include the likes of actress Jodie Foster who played the lead role of an astronomer looking for evidence of aliens in the 1997 film Contact. Amongst other donors was the Apollo 8 astronaut, Bill Anders.

The 42 radio telescopes, in northern California, search space for potential signals from alien life forms.

The SETI Institute says the fund should be enough to keep the telescopes operating until the end of 2011.  The plan is still dependent on the institute receiving money from the US Air Force to help track space debris that could damage satellites.

SETI is hoping to raise more money to contribute to the £1.5m annual operating and staffing costs of the telescopes and keep them going beyond the end of this year. Ultimately the plan is to use the array to observe planets outside our own Solar System.

The array also contributes to research into black holes, pulsars and magnetic fields in the Milky Way.

Source: BBC News

%d bloggers like this: