Buckle up! April skies have majestic things in store for sky lovers

The image shows a pink moon.— Unsplash

The month of April has been designated as Global Astronomy Month by Astronomers Without Borders, a US-based organisation that brings together people who like seeing the night sky. 

April is a noteworthy month for space-related events. Here are some key events that sky gazers should take notes of:

  • Full Pink Moon April 5 and 6
  • 34P/PANSTARRS comet flyby April 7
  • Total solar eclipse April 20
  • Lyrid meteor shower April 21, 22, 23

April 5 and 6 – Full Pink Moon

On April 6, at 12:37 am EDT, the Northern Hemisphere’s first full moon will be at its brightest. The full Pink Moon will be visible for the first time on April 5, however, because of its peak illumination being so early in Eastern Time, Western time zones will witness its peak on April 5’s eve.

April 7 – 34P/PANSTARRS comet at its closest point in flyby

Early in April, the Jupiter-family comet 364P/PANSTARRS will fly by the Earth at a distance of 11 million miles. The comet will be in the “foxy” constellation Vulpecula, and its brightness magnitude is predicted to be around 12.3. Both the Northern and Southern hemispheres will be able to see it, but those in Northern latitudes will be able to see it more clearly.

Image shows a solar eclipse.— Unsplash
Image shows a solar eclipse.— Unsplash

April 20 – Total solar eclipse

Although eclipses are typically thrilling events, this one has a unique feature. An extremely unusual cosmic alignment of the Earth, moon, and sun results in a total solar eclipse. The following solar eclipse will be the last until 2031 and the first of its sort since 2013.

On April 20, a new moon will partially block the sun’s light. The moon will fail to produce a total solar eclipse for a brief period of time because it is just a little too distant from the Earth in its elliptical orbit to completely cover the entire sun. Over the Indian Ocean, a brief ring of fire will be seen, but the Moonshadow will entirely obscure the sun.

April 21, 22, and 23 – Lyrid meteor shower

It is anticipated that the Lyrids will begin late on April 21 or 22 and last until April 23 daybreak. On April 23, at 9:06 EDT, the peak is anticipated. Despite the narrowness of the Lyrids’ peak, April 19’s new moon won’t prevent observers from viewing the night sky.