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Constellations, planets and shooting stars – what to see in the night sky in April

Constellations, planets and shooting stars – what to see in the night sky in April

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from: Tanya Banner

What do you see in the starry sky? The monthly overview makes it clear. © imago / Science Picture Library

The starry sky in April shows the spring constellations and many planets. There is also a shooting star to see – a monthly overview.

Frankfurt – anyone who regularly observes the starry sky will recognize: Spring has finally arrived And the winter constellations say goodbye to the sky. The constellation Orion is the most prominent representative of winter, slowly but surely disappearing from the sky. The bright star Sirius also dips below the horizon around mid-April. Instead, the Spring Triangle can now be seen in the starry sky, which is blanketed by the bright stars Arcturus, Spica, and Regulus.

Spica is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo and is about 250 light-years away. Regulus is the main star in the constellation Leo, and it takes about 79 years for its light to reach Earth. Arcturus is the brightest star in the Bear Keeper constellation and one of the five brightest fixed stars in our sky. The red giant star is 37 light-years away and much brighter than our Sun.

Starry sky in April: Ursa Major, Leo and harbingers of summer

If you look up at the sky, the Big Dipper is about to peak. In the south the majestic Leo can be seen, and in the northeast one can already detect the first hint of the coming summer: the star Vega and the constellation Lyra appear in the sky. Wega is one of the three stars of the Summer Triangle.

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In addition to many stars, many planets can be seen in the sky again in April. At the beginning of April, you can take the opportunity to look for the hard-to-observe planet Mercury in the sky. It will have only nighttime visibility in early April in 2023. “You’ll be able to see it across the western-northwest horizon from around 8:45 p.m.,” explains Sven Melchert of Verein der Sternfreunde. the father from IPPEN. MEDIA And he continues: “As always with Mercury, a clear view of the horizon and, of course, the transparent sky is important. The best days for observation are around April 7, and the ideal time is 9 pm.”

Planets in the sky in April: Venus overtakes everyone as the evening star

Venus, whose evening star outshines all stars and planets, is also particularly stunning in April. Venus lies in the West and cannot be overlooked there in its brightness. On April 10, it passes south of the open Pleiades star cluster (M45) and in the following days passes the so-called “Golden Gate of the ecliptic”, which consists of the Pleiades and the open Hyades star cluster. On April 17, Venus will reach its closest point to the Sun (perihelion) and will then be only 107.48 million kilometers away.

Mars is less spectacular than Venus: the red planet stands high in the west after dark, but appears less bright and visible. On April 26, the moon visited the planet Mars in the sky. Gas giant Jupiter can’t be seen at all in April. It is in the sky during the day and in April it reaches its greatest distance from Earth – an incredible 891 million km away. While Jupiter remains invisible, Saturn appears in the morning sky throughout April. From about the middle of the month you can spot the giant planet early in the morning in the east.

Starry sky in April: Spring full moon sets the date of Easter

the full moon April falls on the sixth of the month and has a very special meaning for Christians in this month, because it is used to determine the date of Easter. He founded the Council of Nicaea as early as 325 AD Easter is celebrated on the Sunday after the full moon in spring. The spring full moon is the first full moon after March 21 – 2023 Easter Sunday, so it falls on April 9.

As if the starry sky didn’t have enough to offer in April, this month you can too Shooting stars Look: From April 16th, it will be possible to spot Lyrid’s shooting stars in the sky. Maximum meteor shower on the night of April 23rd. Then, under ideal observing conditions, it can shoot up to 20 meteors per hour.

The best time to observe is after midnight, when the so-called radiant (the point in the sky from which shooting stars appear to stream) is high in the sky. Lyrids are speeding stars, hurtling across the night sky at about 49 kilometers per second. The parent comet is C/1861 G1 Thatcher. You can find one here An overview of the best falling star streams of the year. (unpaid bill)