Monthly Stargazing Calendar for April 2011

Featured astronomical event

Lyrids Meteor Shower: The Lyrids are an average meteor shower with about 20 meteors per hour at their peak on April 21 and 22. These meteors can produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. The shower is most spectacular during the peak on April 21 and 22, but some meteors can still be spotted from April 16 to 25. The meteors will be radiating from the constellation of Lyra after midnight. A dark viewing location far from city lights is recommended since this year, the gibbous moon will hide most of the fainter meteors in its glare.

Moon phases

As you know, the Moon has a big impact on the visibility of celestial bodies in the night sky. So here are the Moon’s phases for this month:

Monthly Stargazing Calendar for April 2011

Positions of the planets this month

Mercury: The closest planet to the Sun can be seen within the constellations of Pisces not far from the planets Jupiter, Mars and Uranus. This planet, being the closest to the Sun, will appear to move quickly in the night sky and it’s position will change in the following weeks.

Venus: The sister planet can be seen between the constellations of Aquarius and Pisces. Just like Mercury, the planet can only be seen at dawn and dusk.

Mars: The red planet can be seen in the constellation of Pisces near Uranus, Jupiter and Mercury.

Jupiter: The gas giant is visible in the constellations of Pisces. Jupiter can easily be spotted with the naked eye, even in highly illuminated cities.

Saturn: The ringed giant can be seen with the naked eye in the middle of the Virgo constellation, not far from the bright star Spica.

Uranus: The gas giant can be seen between the constellations of Pisces and Cetus with the use of a telescope.

Neptune: The blue giant requires a telescope pointed in the constellation of Aquarius in order to be seen.

Astronomical events next month

May 5, 6 – Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower.

May 11 – Conjunction of Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter.