Jupiter, Mars, Mercury & Lyrid Meteor Shower Peak In April Night Skies: How & When To Watch
This month will be a definite treat for stargazers and enthusiasts alike as they will be offered spectacular views of Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and the Lyrid meteor shower.Advertisement
The largest planet in our solar system, which shone incredibly bright last month, will be visible as clearly. NASA’s Juno mission will orbit the planet in July. According to SCVTV, the night of April 6-7 will be worth waiting for – as people will be able to catch a sight of a transit, a shadow transit, an occultation and an eclipse of Jupiter’s moons.
While Jupiter’s moon Io will move in front of the planet at 9:52 p.m. EDT, its shadow is expected to follow less than an hour later. The planet will pass through in front of Europa, another of its moons, at 10:48 p.m. EDT; the moon will come out of the planet’s shadow at 3 a.m. EDT. At 1:01 a.m. EDT, viewers will be able to see Ganymede transiting the planet.
Another mesmerizing sight will be that of Arcturus, the fourth brightest star in the sky, as it shines over Mount Baker. While Arcturus is 36.7 light years away from Earth, the closest star to our solar system – Alpha Centauri – is 4.37 light years away.
Our neighbor Mars will also be visible, with its brightness reaching its peak, this month. By the end of April, it will rise in southeast at about 10 p.m. Just a few hours before dawn, the brightness of Mars – which will appear almost twice as bright as during the beginning of April – will be maximum.
During mid April, Mars will come close to the similar-colored red supergiant star Antares, also called “the heart of the scorpion.” According to Oak Bay News, Antares is known to be part of a group called “Royal stars of Persia,” along with Aldebaran, Regulus and Fomalhaut. The supergiant is also one of the four brightest stars close to the ecliptic.
Weather.com notes that the Lyrid meteor show will also feature in the night sky this month. Stargazers will be able to view it just before the dawn on April 23 (they appear April of every year), when the constellation Lyra is overhead and the moon will almost be setting.