What’s Up! April 2022

A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth

Compiled by Steve Sawyer

[Take the April 2022 Quiz – Planets and their Satellites]

So what’s on this month?

What’s happening or is going to take place this next month.

April’s  Events

Date Time Description
1st 06:24 New Moon
2nd 23:11 Mercury at superior conjunction
4th 22:00 Mars 0.3°N  of Saturn
7th 19:11 Moon at apogee
9th 06:48 First Quarter
14th-30th Lyrid meteor shower
16th 18:55 Full Moon
19th-May28th n-Aquariid meteor shower
19th 15:13 Moon at perigee
22nd-23rd April Lyrid meteor shower maximum
23rd 11:56 Last Quarter
24th 20:55 Saturn 4.5N° of Moon
25th 22.05 Mars 3.9°N of Moon
27th 01:51 Venus 3.8°N of Moon
27th 03:20 Neptune 3.7°N of Moon
27th 08:26 Jupiter 3.7°N of Moon
30th 20:28 New Moon

 

Aprils Objects

 

The Sun

The sun is pretty busy at the moment with 124 sunspots and throwing out a number of CME’s. Keep checking online for Aurora alerts.

 

For more info on the sun and solar weather look at the Space Weather Prediction Center website.

 

The Moon

Full moon is on the 16th.  April’s moon is known as the pink moon and is the 1st full moon of spring making it the Paschal moon.  The Paschal Full Moon is central to the celebration of Easter, as Easter Sunday always falls on the first Sunday after the Paschal Moon.

A full lunar calendar can be found on the Moon Info website.

 

The Planets

Most of the planets are low in the sky this month.

 

Mercury

Not visible until early-mid April.  Best time to see 29th April when the planet shines at mag +0.4 and sets 135 minutes after the sun.

 

Venus 

Morning planet very low on the horizon

 

Mars 

Low morning planet

 

Jupiter 

Again a low morning planet, just visible an hour before sunrise toward the end of the month.

 

Saturn 

Poorly positioned morning planet.

 

Meteor Showers

There are 2  displays this month, the well-known Lyrids and the lesser well-known n-Aquariids.

 

Aquariids

This shower begins on the 19th April and comes to a max on the 6th May and fades during May.   The radiant point is in the direction of the constellation Aquarius.  The shower is named after the brightest star in this constellation, Eta Aquarii.

The source of this meteor shower is Halley’s comet which also provides the source for the Orionid shower in October.

This is an early morning display with the radiant being very low on the horizon.

 

Lyrids

The main April meteor shower begins on the 16th and runs until around the 25th, this meteor shower reaches peak activity on the night of the 22nd/23rd April.  A peak of 18 meteors can be expected, but take this with a grain of salt as you’ll need really dark skies to see anything like this number.

The radiant point is located near Vega and will initially be quite low on the horizon but as the night progresses the altitude increases.

 

Comets

Not much to see this month.  The only probable is C/2017 K2 PanStarrs at mag 10

See the tracking charts on the PanSrarrs webpage.

 

Deep Sky Objects (DSOs)

Some DSO’s for the astrophotographers. Spring is Galaxy Season and the best and easiest targets for Spring astrophotography are all galaxies!

 

Markarian’s Chain – The Virgo Cluster

Markarian’s Chain is made up of more than 8 galaxies, including several Messier objects. It is located in the heart of the massive Virgo Cluster of galaxies and these 8 members make a chain.

Astrophysicist Benjamin Markarian discovered that at least seven of these galaxies are moving coherently in space, and decided to give his name to the chain.

Photographing this group of galaxies is fairly easy as the members spread out in a large area of the sky and all have different magnitudes. You can observe or image Markarian’s Chain with any small telescope or with a DSLR camera and a lens on top of a star tracker.

 

The Sombrero Galaxy (M104)

Messier 104 may look very small in photographs compared to some of the other famous Messier objects, but it has the largest supermassive black hole ever recorded in any nearby galaxy!

The Sombrero Galaxy is small and not impressive to look at, but it is bright enough to be seen with binoculars and small telescopes if observing from a very dark site.

M104 is very popular among amateur astrophotographers because, if done well, one can reveal tons of details in the beautiful dust lanes that cross in front of the galaxy’s luminous centre. Processing this target might be a little bit tricky because you need to make sure to not make the core too bright or your image will look overexposed.

 

The Rosette Nebula (NGC 2237)

The Rosette Nebula can be found in Monoceros, and the cluster of stars can be spotted with binoculars quite easily. You might see a blurry patch of gas if observing the nebula with a small telescope, but you would need to be under a really dark sky.

The Rosette Nebula is mostly made up of Hydrogen Alpha gas, which naturally appears red in photographs.

 

Man’s Space Activities

Spotting the International Space Station

Link for NASA information on viewing the space station over York. This is the information the site is currently showing.

 

The following ISS sightings are possible from Monday, 28 Mar 2022 through Tuesday, 12 Apr 12022

Date Visible Max Height Appears Disappears
Wed Mar 30, 9:38 PM 3 min 17° 10° above WSW 16° above SSW
Thu Mar 31, 8:49 PM 5 min 23° 10° above W 11° above SSE
Sat Apr 2, 8:51 PM 3 min 13° 10° above WSW 10° above S

Ref: Spot the Station website (York, UK)


Astronomy and Space Quiz

Compiled by John Rowland

 

Results for March 2021 Quiz

Congratulations must go to both Andrew Downie and Paul Thornley for once again sharing the top spot in the quiz, with 9 correct answers.

 

For details of the Answers, follow this link: Whats_Up_March_2022_Quiz_Answers

 

This Month’s Quiz – Planets and their Satellites

Quiz icon12 multi-choice questions for beginners up to experts level.
Please click on the link below to take the quiz.
Follow the April 2022 Quiz link here!
And Good Luck!

The winner(s) will be posted on the website (“Leave a Reply”) and also at the next YAS Meeting after the 15th.


Thanks for your interest, and we wish you clear skies and good viewing. Stay safe!

Steve Sawyer and John Rowland!

 

1 thought on “What’s Up! April 2022

  1. Congratulations once more to Andrew Downie, who is once again top quizzer with an impressive score of 11 out of 12.

    We’re taking a break from quizzes for a while but hope to start them up again in the autumn.

    Thanks to all who participated.

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