With great sights, April skies offer peace, relaxation during difficult time
With the steady increase in global concerns with the COVID-19 virus, a long-needed break from the daily reports of doom and gloom is in order.
This is a great time to view the wonders of our universe, right from your own home or yard.
April offers up some great sights.
We begin with the moon and its journey around the night sky.
April opens up with the moon at it’s first quarter phase, riding high in the south at sunset, followed by a most spectacular full moon — the Full Pink Super Moon on the night of the seventh. That occurs for us at 7:35 p.m. Arizona time.
The moon then transitions into the late evening and early morning sky, with last quarter on the 14th.
The darkest of skies will occur with the arrival of the the new moon on April 22.
This will be just in time for the second of the year’s major meteor showers, the Lyrids.
This meteor shower will peak during the early morning hours of the 22nd. Look high in the northeast sky for the star Vega in the constellation of Lyra. The meteors are from comet Thatcher, which orbits the sun once every 415 years.
Planets play an important role in our April skies, with the brilliant planet Venus being the major planet in the early evening sky.
Venus is high in the west at sunset and will move very close to one of the most amazing star clusters in the entire sky. Watch as Venus will glide into the star field of the amazing Pleiades star cluster on the evenings of April 2 and 3.
This will be amazing in a pair of binoculars on the evening of April 3.
Venus will reach its greatest brilliancy in the night sky, on the night of the 27th.
From there, Venus will slowly dart towards the horizon and be a better object to view in a telescope, reaching inferior conjunction on June 3.
We shift to the morning sky in April, as three major planets will be visible in the southeast, an hour before sunrise.
A nice conjunction of the planets Jupiter, Mars and Saturn await you in the sky.
These three, will be your major planets for the remainder of 2020, as Jupiter and Saturn will remain close all summer.
Mars on the other hand, will continue to grow in brilliance and visible size, as it works its way towards another great opposition in October of this year. Closest to us on Oct. 6 and at opposition on Oct. 13.
This is a great time to view the long march of Mars towards the Earth.
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April skies will be tranquil and offer you some peace and relaxation for you and your family in these difficult times.
To print your own monthly star chart, click here.
To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.
Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.