APRIL 21: we will have to get up very early this morning to witness the beautiful alignment of Venus, Mars, Mercury and Jupiter. Uranus is also in their midst, but invisible to the naked eye; while Mercury, coming out of Retrogradation on April 23, will also be very difficult to spot for the moment.
If you miss the spectacle today, no to worry it will reappear every morning until the closest visual alignment will take place between April 13 and 20, continuing until the end of May.
This is a great opportunity to observe Venus slowly shifting from West to East toward the other slower moving planets.
The sky-scape below was generated, using Stellarium, on April 21, around 5.30 am, looking East.
THE LYRIDS METEORS SHOWER
On April 21 to 23 we may also have the chance to experience the yearly Lyrids’ meteors shower, not one of the most spectacular meteors spectacle, but usually reliable, with 15 to 20 meteors shooting every hour.
To spot the shower we’ll need to look toward Lyra constellation in the North-East. The best time will be between midnight and one am, away from city lights.
The sparks of this shower were released by the comet Thatcher that was discovered in 1861, but the meteors themselves have been observed for thousands of years.
On the evenings of February 11 and 12, weather permitting, we may be able to observe the Crescent Waxing Moon getting close to the Stars’ Cluster known as the Pleiades, in the constellation of Taurus, the Bull. They were once the Nymphs who formed the retinue of Artemis, the Moon Goddess. In one of the many variants of their story they are for ever running away from a lustful suitor, the hunter Orion with his mighty club!
The 12th will be the best night to view the Moon and the Pleaides together, because by then the 50% illumined Moon will not be so close to their cluster and they will be more visible.
The snapshots below were taken on the 11th (top one) and 12th of February (bottom one), around 9.30 pm (Eastern Australia Summer Time), looking toward the North-West.
Click to enlarge