After Dark: April 2016

One of the things I have been hoping to do with my blog is to add a monthly stargazing guide (focused mostly on the Northern Hemisphere). With that in mind, let me introduce “After Dark” – my monthly blog post highlighting some of the interesting celestial events coming up.

April 7 – The New Moon will offer an excellent opportunity on April 7th to observe some of the things you can’t normally see as a result of our moon’s luminosity – like galaxies and star clusters. Looking East around 9:30pm, just under the constellation Leo, you can get a great view of Jupiter. If you have a telescope or a pair of binoculars, you might even get a chance to see the four Galilean Moons!

April 18 – If you take a look to the West on April 18th, you’ll get a chance to view Mercury as it reaches its greatest eastern elongation. It’ll be at its highest point in the evening sky just after sunset.

April 22/23 – If you’re up around midnight between April 22nd and 23rd, grab some hot cocoa and try to catch some of the Lyrid Meteor Shower. This is an average meteor shower, producing between 20-30 meteors per hour. The Full Moon will block a few out, so find the darkest place you can and check them out after midnight.

Looking Ahead – Get ready for the peak of the Aquarid Meteor Shower to coincide with the New Moon on May 6th!

I’m looking forward to doing a lot of stargazing on the Appalachian Trail in April. If you have any cool stargazing stories you’d like to share, add them to the comments! I’d love to highlight your night sky stories in future posts. See you After Dark!

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