Posts Tagged ‘lyrid’

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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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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.

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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 🙂

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Astronomy Events – April 2012

March 31, 2012

by yaska77

March was a good month for sky watching! The conjunction of Venus and Jupiter, followed closely by the appearance of the crescent Moon sparked a lot of interest. So what is happening in April to keep that enthusiasm going?

To help out we’ve listed some astronomical happenings of note for the next month, hopefully with a little bit of something for everyone!

Sunday 1st April – Today sees the start of Global Astronomy Month, encouraging all to look to the night sky!

Tuesday 3rd April – Venus is still present as a spectacularly bright object in the early evening sky. Tonight it will appear to pass closest to the Pleiades or “Seven Sisters” (so it should be a great photographic target) but the planet will be just below the open cluster on the 2nd and to the left on the 4th, so we’ve got three evenings to get some images (hope for clear skies!)

Venus will appear in the Pleiades on the 3rd April 2012 shown at 20:00 GMT (21:00 BST). The star cluster is also known as the Seven Sisters (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Friday 6th April – The first Full Moon of spring is sometimes known as the Paschal Full Moon or the Paschal Term

Also called the Pink Moon, supposedly because the grass pink (or wild ground phlox) is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the season, other monikers (varying by location) are the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and – among coastal tribes – the Full Fish Moon, when the shad come upstream to spawn

Traditionally, Easter is observed on the Sunday immediately after the Paschal Full Moon (Paschal meaning passover)

The Paschal Full Moon fell on 17th April in 2011, imaged here using a Sky-Watcher 200P Telescope and a Canon Eos 550D (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Saturday 7th April – Moon is at Perigee (358,315 km) the closest point of its orbit to the Earth, rising soon after 20:00 GMT (21:00 BST)

Tuesday 10th April – As the Moon doesn’t rise until after 00:00 GMT (01:00 BST) tonight is a good opportunity to look at some deep sky objects earlier on without the moonlight interfering!

Friday 13th April – Last Quarter Moon which doesn’t rise until after 02:00 GMT (03:00 BST), another good evening for deep sky observing

Sunday 15th April – Saturn is at Opposition in the constellation Virgo. This means it’s in an opposite position in the sky to our Sun so will rise at sunset and set at sunrise, making it observable all night long. The rings are beginning to open too (as the planet tilts) so they will look impressive even in a small telescope

We captured this image of Saturn by using a CCD camera and then stacking the frames, from March 2011 (click to enlarge) Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Wednesday 18th April – Mercury is at its Greatest Western Elongation so will rise before the Sun and be visible to morning observers, close to the waning crescent Moon

Saturday 21st April – Tonight the New Moon sets at dusk, coinciding with the peak of the Lyrids Meteor Shower (from 16th to 26th April), which will start this evening and last into the early hours of the 22nd

The radiant point will be near the constellation Lyra with a ZHR (Zenithal Hourly Rate) of around 20 meteors per hour (but it has been known to go as high as 90)

The meteors will seem to come from the direction of Lyra, but should appear all over the sky. Image shown at 00:00 GMT (01:00 BST) on 22nd April 2012 (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 22nd April – Moon is at Apogee (406,420 km) the furthest point of its orbit from the Earth

Jupiter will appear very close to a thin crescent Moon, about 6° up in the west-north-western sky after sunset

Monday 23rd April – The waxing crescent Moon appears just beneath the Pleiades soon after sunset this evening. With the Hyades and Venus both nearby (all to the right of Orion), those with a flat enough western horizon may find this a good photo target

The large craters of Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catharina will appear very will illuminated close to the terminator on 26th April 2012 (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Thursday 26th April – Fans of the Moon have the chance to see (and image) three large craters this evening. Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catharina will all appear close to the terminator, similar to the image above that we took on 9th April 2011

Sunday 29th April – First Quarter Moon

Mars, Regulus and the waxing gibbous Moon form a triangle in the sky on 30th April 21.30 GMT (22.30 BST), we'll be aiming to get some images! (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Monday 30th April – Mars, the waxing gibbous Moon and the star Regulus (part of the constellation Leo) form a triangle in the sky this evening. Shown above at 21:30 GMT (22:30 BST), it should be a good target for some photos!

Planets visible this month:

Mercury
Venus
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn

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 2012
Astronomy Events – February 2012
Astronomy Events – January 2012

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Lyrid April Showers

April 18, 2011

by yaska77

We may not have had the traditional April showers in the UK this year, but that is about to change! As highlighted in our astronomy events guide, between the 16th to the 26th this month we see the April Lyrid meteor shower (peaking on April 22nd).

The meteors in this shower tend to be bright and leave persistent trains as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. In recent years the shower has averaged 10 to 20 meteors per hour.

That might sound like a fairly mediocre shower, but it has been known for the Lyrids to surge to over 100 per hour! This is what makes this shower so difficult to predict. Will it be a downpour or a washout this year!?

Lyrid Radiant Point (Universe Today)

Lyrid meteors radiate from a point (radiant) in the constellation of Lyra and this is where this shower gets its name. The best time to look for Lyrid meteors is late in the evening on April 22nd after 10pm as the constellation of Lyra rises up from the northeast.

This will give you 2 or 3 hours of meteor watching before the waning gibbous moon rises and starts to wash out the sky. But still, it’s well worth staying up to see as many bright meteors as possible.

Originally posted on Universe Today (Paraphrased above)

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