Dear Stargazer Friends,

I hope you have been well. March wasn’t a very productive month for me as far as astronomy is concerned because of continued backlash of my mount. A new set-up should arrive soon. In the meantime, I took a few pictures with my DSLR and hope to be back at astrophotography with my telescope this month. Will post a review on the new equipment later this year.

Now to the astronomical events in April: On the 27th we’ll have a Super Full Moon at 17:22 (CET, Bern, Switzerland) with a distance between the Moon and Earth of 357’378 km/222’064 mi. 

Planet Mars will move from the constellation of Taurus to the constellation of Gemini on 24 April. However, it will descent westwards earlier as the month progresses and is best observed in the early evening. On 17 April, observe the Mars & Waxing Crescent Moon conjunction.

Jupiter & Saturn will be well visible in the early mornings (look SE). Venus and Mercury will be almost impossible to observe and for Venus, we’ll have to be patient till May when it will become visible again in the evening (in the West and only for a short moment). 

On 6 April in the early morning, the Moon will appear close to Jupiter and Saturn. Starting 16 April and until 30 April, the Lyrid meteor showers will be active (peak on 21-22 April).

April will be an excellent month to observe (and take pictures of) a number of Galaxy clusters in the constellations of: Virgo, Leo and Coma Berenices. 

Enjoy the journey, clear skies and stay well.

Best wishes,
Isa

Moon phases April 2021

PhaseDate
Third Quarter 4 April, 12:02
New Moon12 April, 04:30
First Quarter20 April, 08:58
Full Moon (Super Full Moon at 17:22 Bern, CET)27 April, 05:31
Moon phases April 2021 (times Bern, Switzerland)
Moon Mars
Moon Mars Aldebaran Pleiades 19 March 2021 – Picture (c) Isabel Streit 2021

Dwarf planet Makemake & Asteroid (4) Vesta

Dwarf planet (136472) Makemake is currently in Coma Berenices. With a magnitude of 16.91 you’ll need a powerful telescope in order to be able to observe it. 

Asteroid (4) Vesta is still in the constellation of Leo and has a magnitude of around 6.5. 

Planets

Mars continues to be visible in the constellation of Taurus and will move into the constellation of Gemini around 24 April. However, it will descend westwards and is best observed during early evenings.

2 April:       Mars in open star cluster NGC 1746 in Taurus

13 April:       Mars located between the variable star Tianguan & double Star Elnath in Taurus

Planet Mars between Tianguan and Elnath in Taurus on 13 April 2021 at 22:01 h

17 April:       Mars & Waxing Crescent Moon conjunction (5.1 days old, 26.4% illuminated)

27 April:           Mars in M35 (Shoe Buckle Cluster) in the constellation of Gemini

Jupiter and Saturn will be visible in the early morning hours before sunrise. 

6 April:         The Waning Crescent Moon will appear close to Jupiter & Saturn in the early morning hours.

Venus and Mercury are currently too close to the sun to be observable. For Venus, we’ll have to wait until May when it will appear in the evening above the western horizon. 

Moon conjunctions with Planets

6 April: The Waning Crescent Moon will appear close to Jupiter and Saturn in the early morning (look SE).

17 April: Moon conjunction with Mars in the constellation of Taurus.

Meteor shower

The Lyrid meteor showers will be active from 16 until 30 April with peak on 21-22 April 2021. Unfortunately, the Moon will be 65% illuminated that night. 

Galaxies

April will be excellent for observing a number of Galaxies in the constellation of Coma Berenices (Coma B) and in the constellation of Leo (the Leo Triplet aka M 66 Group). The constellation of Virgo is equally interesting with the Virgo Cluster with M 87 being the largest galaxy. In addition: 

NameMag. Constellation
NGC 2841 (Tiger’s Eye Galaxy)9.35Ursa Major
M 1068.55Canes Venatici
M 81 (Bode’s Galaxy)7.08Ursa Major
M 82 (Cigar Galaxy)8.55Ursa Major
NGC 3139 (Leo Quartet)11.02Leo
M 101 (Pinwheel Galaxy)8.01Ursa Major

Star clusters

The Pleiades (M 45) will still be visible in April but like the whole constellation of Taurus they will descent westwards and are best observed during early evening. Other star clusters of interest in April:

NameMag. Constellation
Cr 39 (α Per Cluster)1.52Perseus
Cr 256 (Coma Berenices Cluster)1.95Coma Berencies
M 44 (Beehive Cluster)3.26Cancer
M 36.37Canes Venatici
NGC 2281 (Broken Heart Cluster)5.57Auriga
M 537.88Coma Berenices

Bright nebulae

NameMag. Constellation
C 9 (Cave Nebula)7.70Cepheus
NGC 7023 (Iris Nebula)6.80Cepheus
NGC 7380 (The Wizard Nebula)7.20Cepheus
IC 1805 (Heart Nebula)6.50Cassiopeia

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