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  • Chris Baker

What's Up? -APRIL 2023

Each month I highlight a few objects you can spot in the night sky without the need for optical equipment.


Great planet viewing this month including being able to glimpse MERCURY!

Plus later in the month a meteor shower!


PLANETS


Mercury

This elusive planet puts on its best show of the year during April so if you can take the time to spot then do it this month!

It is never that easy to spot as it is so close to the sun. However this month you need to look in west to north-western sky about 30 minutes after sunset - i.e. once the sky has darkened somewhat.

It will be very low down of course so you will need a good low horizon. (never use optical equipment for observing Mercury as it is close to the sun!)

The planet will be farthest from the sun on the 11th but it is worth trying to spot it throughout the month.


Venus and Mercury low in the west on the 12th April

Courtesy of Stellarium


Let me know if you manage to spot this elusive planet!


Venus

Venus is a stunning bright object low down in the west throughout the month of April. What a show it is putting on for us! You can't miss it and it should help you find Mercury too which will be below Venus in the darkening early evening sky.


Venus low in the west evening sky on the 4th April - but it's visible throughout the month!


Courtesy of Stellarium


Jupiter

Not visible this month.


Mars

Mars is visible throughout the month in the western sky - see it amongst the stars of Gemini! Don't forget it is red which should help you locate it.


Mars shining high in the sky evening of the 4t in the south west - but can be seen all month

Courtesy of Stellarium



Saturn

Not visible this month.


Lyrids Meteor shower


The Lyrids appear from close to the bright star Vega -seen here 1am on the 24th April

Courtesy of Stellarium


This year the Lyrids meteor show should be even more enjoyable as we will not have the pesty moon spoiling the show!

It is only classified as a 'moderate' shower, but it is still worthwhile viewing.

How to Observe

The shooting stars appear to emanate from close to the bright star VEGA making the source easier to locate.

They are visible for a three day period centred around the 23rd April.

You'll need to stay up until at least midnight when the source has risen to a decent height in the eastern sky.



Enjoy the night sky this month and let me know about your observations


Thank you for reading this blog and do let me know if there is anything you would like me to add to my Newsletter each month.

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