#astronomy The Evening Sky in April 2021 – Astronotes

April 3, 2021 - Comment

Hiya Stargazers and welcome to April! Nicely, because the saying goes “April showers deliver Could flowers”, so we could also be low on clear nights for stargazing. Attributable to our local weather and site cloud cowl usually interferes with our means to see what the evening sky has to supply, however we will stay in

Hiya Stargazers and welcome to April! Nicely, because the saying goes “April showers deliver Could flowers”, so we could also be low on clear nights for stargazing. Attributable to our local weather and site cloud cowl usually interferes with our means to see what the evening sky has to supply, however we will stay in optimism and hope! 

For those who ever wish to give stargazing a go free from mild air pollution, cloud cowl and with the useful addition of highly effective telescopes, we suggest Slooh! You’ll be able to be part of Slooh for a small payment and be part of the Armagh Sky Sweepers stargazing membership!

Do not forget that in case you are giving stargazing a go the quaint manner, please give your eyes round 20 minutes to totally adapt to the darkish. Chorus from utilizing your telephone and if in any respect attainable attempt to go to an space with decrease mild air pollution fairly than the centre of a city (10 miles or much less from your private home in fact). Even in the event you do stay in a city or metropolis you possibly can see fairly a bit with the bare eye – so give it a go!

The Moon – this month it’s pink!

The Pink Moon! Not so pink.

Now, earlier than I get your hopes up, the moon sadly received’t be pink. It’ll very a lot preserve its silvery look within the evening sky. The identify “Pink Moon” comes from Native American tribes. They tended to call the months after the colors related to time of yr. The April full moon grew to become The Pink Moon as a result of look of Creeping Phlox and different pink foliage. 

It could seem extra yellow and far bigger than it’s in actuality when it’s nearer to our horizon. This month the complete moon is on the 26th, and it’s as soon as once more a supermoon! Supermoons are mentioned to be greater and brighter than your common full Moon (between 7% and 15% bigger).

Whereas the moon is so massive and so shut, why not seize the chance to be taught the totally different mare on the moon? Mare are the darker patches on the moon; mare (pronouced mah-rey) interprets from latin to “seas” as early astronomers mistook these basaltic planes for precise seas of water. They’re in reality areas of iron-rich moon rock shaped by volcanic eruptions early within the historical past of the photo voltaic system. The iron makes them much less reflective of the solar’s mild and subsequently they seem a lot darker to us on Earth. The mare all have totally different names – see in the event you can spot all of them!

The Mare on the Moon. Credit score: Ian Morison

Guess who’s again?! Venus!

Ah Venus, it’s been an extended winter with out you! Venus makes her triumphant return to our skies this spring time, having been too far under our horizon within the evening to see. Venus is in fact well-known for being the 2nd brightest object within the evening sky (the moon being the first). 

Venus. Credit score Stellarium.

Venus is our “evil twin” planet. It is because it’s comparable in measurement however spins eerily in the other way to the remainder of the planets (and extremely slowly – its day is longer than its yr). Its thick ambiance creates a superb blanket to mirror mild again at us – therefore why it’s so vibrant! Planets at all times give out a flat mild versus stars which twinkle within the sky. 

Venus. Credit score: NASA

On 12 April, Venus sits three.7˚ northwest of a lower than 1%-lit skinny Moon which, at simply 7.eight˚ from the Solar, itself could also be a difficult spot. Issues enhance as we head in the direction of the top of the month, Venus’s brightness serving to the planet stand out in order that it may confidently be seen in opposition to the evening sky. 

Capturing Stars!

At sure instances of the yr, the Earth on its orbit across the Solar strikes into areas of cosmic mud usually left behind by comets getting into into the internal Photo voltaic System. As these mud particles enter the Earth’s ambiance they dissipate and create meteors or taking pictures stars within the evening sky. The Lyrids meteor bathe peaks on the night of the 22nd of April and sometimes you possibly can count on to see as much as 20 meteors an hour. They get their identify as they appear to originate from the constellation of Lyra which is within the east after Sundown. Because the Moon can be in its New Moon section, the taking pictures stars can be extra seen with out the moon’s mild interrupting the view. Don’t fear if its cloudy on the 22nd, you possibly can nonetheless see a flurry of meteors a couple of days earlier than and after the height.

Lyrids – Credit score NASA

Some Constellations To Look Out For!

As we come into Spring we have now some model new constellations to look out for, so why not get to know a few of the most important gamers? Hail Hydra! The primary constellation you’ll wish to look out for is the most important constellation of all of them, Hydra the water snake. All in all of the constellation of Hydra measures at 1303 sq. levels. It was initially a part of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy within the 2nd Century. As I mentioned final month, surprisingly, Hydra solely incorporates one fairly vibrant star and it’s referred to as Alphard, or Alpha Hydrae for you Bayer designation followers on the market. Alphard means “solitary one,” in Arabic and is also referred to as the “spine of the serpent.” Tycho Brahe, the well-known Danish astronomer and bon vivant par excellence, additionally referred to as this star Cor Hydræ, which means the “coronary heart of the snake.” Both manner, they each sound fairly superior. Alphard is an orange large star about 50 instances as broad as our Solar with an obvious magnitude of two.zero at roughly 177 mild years away from the Earth.

Hail Hydra! (Picture Credit score: Stellarium)

The constellation of Hydra has a few totally different tales woven into it. One in every of these tales associates the constellation with the monster Hydra, with its many heads. “Minimize off one head and two extra shall take its place”…sorry I went all Captain America there. Again to historic mythology. Hercules was tasked in his twelve labours to kill the monstrous Hydra, and with a view to do that he burned out the roots of the heads as he severed them, which means none may develop again.

Virgo is an excellent constellation with 26 recognized exoplanets (planets outdoors of the photo voltaic system) orbiting round 20 stars. It additionally has at the least a dozen Messier objects. It’s the largest constellation of the Zodiac and the second-largest constellation total, behind Hydra. Picture Credit score: Stellarium

One other constellation to look out for is Virgo The Maiden. Virgo is the second largest constellation within the sky, and appears a bit bit like a solar lounger. Virgo will be simply positioned by its brightest star Spica. Spica is the fifteenth brightest star within the evening sky, and is definitely a spectroscopic binary and rotating ellipsoidal variable, a system whose two most important stars are so shut collectively their mutual gravitational interplay has made them egg-shaped fairly than spherical. The easiest way to seek out Spica is to observe the deal with of the Plough (also referred to as the Large Dipper), and arc to Arcturus, the brightest star within the constellation Boötes. When you attain Arcturus, you journey down in a straight line to Spica, you “spike” to Spica. In Latin, Spica means “ear of wheat,” and represents the grains that Virgo is at all times drawn holding.

Nicely that’s it for this month! Tell us what you see within the evening sky!

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