The month of March is already over. During the beginning of the month we had one last winter offensive. On Wednesday, March 8, Belgium was hit by a snow zone, followed by the Netherlands the following day. In many places it temporarily turned white, with even about 20 cm of snow in the Ardennes. After this the ocean came in, with the coming and going of rain and wind. It was therefore autumn rather than spring. Will spring take a chance in April? Every month you get an impression of what can be seen in the night sky via this handy overview. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the weather in the night period is favorable for spotting celestial bodies.
On March 29, we saw the right half of the moon, the first quarter. The light of the moon continues to increase, until the full moon on April 6. After that, the moon’s light decreases again, so that finally on Thursday, April 13, only the left half of the moon is illuminated again. On Thursday, April 20, it will be a new moon again and we will only see the dark side of the celestial body. From then on, the moon’s light will increase again, until the right half of the moon is illuminated again on Thursday, April 27.
On Wednesday April 12 is the planet Jupiter in conjunction with our Sun. This means that the Earth, the Sun and Jupiter are then aligned. As seen from Earth, Jupiter moves behind the Sun, making it briefly invisible.
Still up 12 April the planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation. This may sound like a difficult concept. Elongation is the angle between a planet and the Sun as seen from Earth. An eastern elongation occurs when a celestial body is east of the Sun. The celestial body then sets when the Sun sets, or 2 hours after.
The month of April is well suited to star system NGC 4657 to observe. The galaxy is located in the constellation Hunting Dogs and, together with NGC 4656, is shaped like a hockey stick. A decent telescope is needed to observe the galaxy.
Saturday, April 15, and by extension throughout the month of April, is a good time to galaxy M51the vortex gag, to see. You can find the constellation in the constellation of the Hunting Dogs. However, difficult to see with the naked eye, a telescope is recommended.
On Sunday April 16 our moon is at the perigee of its orbit around the Earth. This is the point closest to our planet. Due to the distance of ‘only’ 368 thousand kilometers, the moon appears larger than normal. The moon is only 15% illuminated.
Friday April 21 is the planet Mercury stationary in ecliptic longitude. This means that the reverse motion of the planet relative to other stars/planets stops and returns to normal.
On Friday April 28 the moon is in the apogee of its orbit around the Earth. The distance from the Earth to the moon is now about 404 thousand kilometers, making it the furthest from our planet. The moon now appears smaller than normal and is 50% illuminated.
During the month of April, 3 meteor showers are active that can cause shooting stars.
The Lyrids are visible from April 14 to April 30. The maximum of the meteor shower this year falls on April 23. There are then about 18 shooting stars per hour visible from this swarm. The meteors are fast, bright and sometimes accompanied by real fireballs.
In addition, there are the π-Puppids. These are visible from April 15 to April 28 and have their peak on April 24 this year. A variable number of meteors can be seen at the peak, up to 40 per hour in some years.
Finally, there are the μ-Virginides visible during the month of April. The peak this year falls on April 30, with about 2 shooting stars per hour that may be visible from the swarm.