Just as the flowers have now blossomed, the skies are also in full bloom this spring. This month of April is abundant in astronomical events that are worthy of celebration like the sakura.
Two of these astronomical events have already passed (both occurred on April 1), but there are still eight more to look forward to. Without further ado, here are the nighttime sky phenomena you have to watch out for:
April 6 – Leo the Lion’s Heart Gets Up Close and Personal With the Moon
On the night of the sixth, the heart of the constellation Leo (called Regulus), will only be one degree away from Luna. To best see the blue-white heart of the lion and its closeness with the moon, cover the moon’s disc with your thumb. That way, the glare is cut off and you will better see the distinctive reverse question mark sign of Leo’s front.
April 7 – Jupiter Lights Up the Sky
Just a day after the gibbous moon passes by Leo’s heart, Jupiter will light up the sky with its celestial brightness. This is because Jupiter will be sitting exactly opposite of the sun, letting it bask in the solar light. Thanks to that, the planet will be at its brightest and largest for the year on April 7.
April 10 – Luna Joins Jupiter
Two nights after this, Jupiter will also have another moment as its moons will cast large shadows on its face. However, that is not the last sky event that features the planetary version of the supreme god of Rome. On April 10, the planet will continue to reign in the night sky as a full moon graces the heavens with it. At the same time, the two celestial bodies will also edge closer to Spica. This makes three astronomical events for Jupiter this April.
April 16 – Moon Glides By Saturn
For those who have difficulty spotting Saturn in the sky, watch out for this astronomical event as the moon will help you out. However, this will happen in the wee hours of morning just before dawn, so you either have to stay up later or wake up really early in time for this to happen.
But for patient stargazers armed with even the smallest telescope, Saturn will show off its rings. On top of that, it might even offer a glimpse of its moons.
April 22 – Mars Guides the Eye to Pleiades
The Red Planet will begin its descent in the western sky as early as April 17. Thanks to its movement, it will draw close to the cluster of stars called the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. But the peak of this celestial event will be on the 22nd when they align close to each other at the same spot in the sky.
April 22 – Lyrid Meteor Shower Peak
Although the Lyrid meteor shower is active annually for a week or so around April 16 – 25, this year the astronomical event will peak on the morning of April 22. So if you want to catch the short bursts of falling stars, you have to stay up late on the night of the 21st. And if you want to see the bulk of the shower, you have to keep your eyes peeled until a few hours before sun-up. Fortunately, the waning crescent moon will not rain on the meteors’ parade.
April 23 – Venus Sidles Beside Luna
Venus the Morning Star will align beside the moon in the early morning of April 23. Stargazers are advised to use binoculars to better see Venus and the moon hang in the sky beside each other. Also, the best time for this would be 45 minutes before the sun goes up.
April 28 – Aldebaran and the Moon Meet Again
Aldebaran and the moon will cozy up with each other for the second time in April on the 28th (the first time was on the 1st). Taurus’ brightest star and the earth’s satellite next encounter will bring them much closer to each other. At this point, they will only be half a degree apart from each other.
That’s not all, though. There is an astronomical event called lunar occultation, when Aldebaran goes behind the moon, that lucky stargazers in Europe, North America, and North Africa will witness. Times vary across continents so you have to check out this table to find out what time you should peep at the sky.
So, which one of these astronomical events are you most excited for?