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Lyrid meteors, April 2012

A sky map for Lyrid meteors, April 2012. Image credit: space.com

The Lyrid Meteor Shower peaks at April 21-22 night, the best observing time is from midnight to dawn April 22. It happens at the new Moon, so moonlight would not spoil observations. This year NASA estimation is ~ 15 meteors per hour at the peak, but the number could vary. Observations made after 1 am are expected to be the most productive. The Lyrids meteors have been observed for at least 2,600 years.

Full Moon is on the 7th and Last Quarter is on the 13th. The new Moon appears on the 21st and the First Quarter on the 29th. On April 7th, the Moon appears between Saturn and Spica . And on April 10th evening, it will be very close to the Antares.

April 24, 2012, observing Venus and crescent Moon

April 24, 2012, observing Venus and crescent Moon. Image credit: Stellarium/IM

On April 24th after sunset, we might be able to see Venus at magnitude -4.6 above a thin crescent Moon. The same time is good to look for the “earthshine” illuminating the “dark side” of the Moon – often called the “old Moon in the new Moon’s arms”.

Every 8 years, Venus passes close to the Pleiades Cluster making a very nice picture. This year, it April 8th and Venus passes at the low left side of the brightest stars in the cluster.

The Moon- an image of Alpine Valley region

The Moon- an image of Alpine Valley region. Image credit: Jorellbank web

The Moon - Alpin Valley region map

The Moon - Alpine Valley region map

April 12th and 29th is a good time to observe the Alpine Valley region of the Moon if you have a small telescope.
Mars is in the evening sky, being due north at 9pm. Close to Mars is the blue-colored Regulus, from the constellation of Leo. On April 30th, after 9 pm, a 9 day old Moon will be seen just below the disk of Mars lying close to Regulus in Leo.

In April, Jupiter is sinking into the twilight and after the 20th, it will be difficult to locate.

Saturn is now rising in the southern sky in the constellation Virgo during the evening and will lie due south around midnight (UT) when at opposition on April 15th. The planet’s North Pole is tilted towards us, making Saturn rings easy to see in a small telescope and even in binoculars.

Use the link below to find when the space station(ISS) will be visible in the next few days in your region. The NASA website provides details for several cities in USA and across the world too.