Dear Stargazer Friends,
In April, the “Spring Triangle” appears shortly before midnight with the stars Arcturus, Spica and Regulus forming an imaginary triangle connecting the constellations of Boötes, Virgo, and Leo. April is still “Galaxy” time, ideal for observing the Needle Galaxy (NGC 4565) in the constellation of Coma Berenices or the Sombrero Galaxy (M104) in the constellation of Virgo. Early April is also an ideal moment for a “Messier objects marathon”. You will find a list with Messier objects below.
It’s also time for the Lyrids Meteor Showers which will peak on 21-22 April. This month, we’ll have two New Moons, the first on 1 April and the second on 30 April. In some parts of South America, the New Moon will partly cover the Sun and create a partial solar eclipse.
Jupiter and Saturn will be visible again in the early morning hours, along with Venus and Mars, starting 19 April (SE). On 24/25 April, the Waning Crescent Moon will appear close to the four planets. On 3 April, the Waxing Crescent Moon can be observed near Uranus after sunset (W).
All in all, a great month to observe the Planets, Galaxies, Star Clusters and Meteor Showers!
Spring time also brings us early mornings with the birds singing. It’s the breeding season for many birds as well as the return of migratory birds. Sadly, many species here in Switzerland, but also in many parts of the world as well, are threatened. According to Swiss Vogelwarte Sempach (Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach) “The most recent national Red List shows that 40 % of breeding bird species are threatened.”
We have been supporters of the Swiss Ornithological Institute for many years. They have projects all over Switzerland including in our region – as far as I’m aware also for Barn Owls. They do extensive research and publish both at national and international level.
This year, I’d like to try something new by “selling” some of my astrophotography work here online as greeting cards. 100% of the benefit will go to Vogelwarte Sempach.. You can place your order under Astrophotography for Biodiversity or by sending me an e-mail to info(at)isasastroatelier.ch until 30 April 2022. The greeting cards will be shipped to you in May 2022.
Thanks for your kind support!
Clears skies and best wishes,
Moon phases April 2022
Times are local time for Bern, Switzerland
|New Moon||01 April, 08:24|
|First Quarter||09 April, 08:47|
|Full Moon||16 April, 20:55|
|Third Quarter||23 April, 13:56|
|New Moon (Black Moon*; second New Moon in single calendar month)||30 April, 22:28|
* In some parts of South America, this Black Moon will partly cover the Sun to create a partial solar eclipse.
|Lyrids 15 April – 29 April 2022||Peak 21-22 April. Moon will be 67% full.|
Mercury will become observable around 15 April around 30’ after sunset (W).
Venus remains visible at dawn (SE) although the observation time will shorten from 1.5 h to 1 h due to the Sun rising 1h earlier on 30 April compared to 1 April. It’s conjunction with Neptune on 27 April (25 arcseconds south of Neptune) will be observable only with a larger refractor/reflector.
Mars remains a bit difficult to observe throughout April.
Jupiter will become observable again starting around 27 April when it becomes a morning object in the constellation of Pisces. It will appear close to Venus on 30 April.
Saturn: observable again starting mid-April as a morning object in the constellation of Capricornus – depending on your horizon a bit earlier in April already. It will be in conjunction with the Waning Crescent Moon on 25 April (SE).
Uranus will be unobservable in April.
Neptune is not visible in April.
Phenomena not to miss in April
In April, the “Spring Triangle” is visible already before/around midnight with the stars Arcturus, Spica and Regulus forming an imaginary triangle connecting the constellations of Boötes, Virgo, and Leo. April is still “Galaxy” time, ideal to take observe or take pictures of the Needle Galaxy (NGC 4565) in the constellation of Coma Berenices or the Sombrero Galaxy (M104) in the constellation of Virgo. The Virgo Cluster with around 1’300 galaxies (possibly up to 2’000) is equally fascinating. It forms the heart of the larger Virgo Supercluster, of which the Local Group incl. our Milky Way is a member. Messier 101 (the Pinwheel Galaxy), a face-on spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major is also a great object to observe, as well as Messier 51 in the constellation of Canes Venatici. You could basically start with the Needle Galaxy, then hop on to M53 & NGC 5053 (globular clusters in Coma Berenices), move to the Virgo Cluster and you’ll still have plenty of time for M101 as well as M51.
|05||Mars 0.3°S of Saturn at 03:00|
|22||Lyrid Meteor Shower|
|24||Saturn 4.5°N of Moon 21:56|
|25||Moon, Saturn, Mars and Venus appear close at dawn, E/SE|
|27||Venus 3.8°N of Moon at 02:51|
|27||Jupiter 3.6°N of Moon at 09:23|
|30||Venus 0.2°S of Jupiter at 21:00|
|30||Partial Solar Eclipse; mag=0.640 (not visible from northern hemisphere) at 21:41|
|M 86 (Faust V051)||8.90||17h20m||0h21m||+55°53’14.26″||7h22m|
|M 87 (Virgo Galaxy)||8.63||17h27m||0h26m||+55°19’58.73″||7h24m|
|M 104 (Sombrero Galaxy)||8.00||19h22m||0h35m||+31°20’06.98″||5h48m|
|M 94 (Croc’s Eye Galaxy)||8.24||13h57m||0h46m||+84°03’14.02″||11h34m|
|M 64 (Black Eye Galaxy)||8.52||17h06m||0h52m||+64°37’24.29″||8h37m|
|M 63 (Sunflower Galaxy)||8.59||13h54m||1h11m||+84°57’58.96″||12h27m|
|M 51 (Whirlpool Galaxy)||8.10||—||1h25m||+89°51’59.21″||—|
|M 83 (Southern Pinwheel Galaxy)||7.54||21h59m||1h32m||+13°08’34.97″||5h05m|
|M 101 (Pinwheel Galaxy)||7.86||—||1h58m||+82°42’26.44″||—|
|M 5 (Rose Cluster)||6.65||21h01m||3h14m||+45°04’08.73″||9h27m|
|M 4 (Crab Globular Cluster)||5.90||0h24m||4h19m||+16°31’46.91″||8h15m|
|M 107 (The Crucifix Cluster)||8.85||23h21m||4h28m||+29°58’46.87″||9h35m|
|M 13 (Great Star Cluster in Hercules)||5.80||19h00m||4h37m||+79°28’20.16″||14h14m|
|M 12 (Gumball Globular Cluster)||7.68||22h47m||4h43m||+41°04’56.84″||10h38m|
|M 62 (Flickering Globular Cluster)||7.39||1h25m||4h57m||+12°58’36.40″||8h29m|
|M 16 (Eagle Nebula)||6.00||1h11m||6h15m||+29°16’56.03″||11h18m|
|M 18 (Black Swan Cluster)||6.90||1h28m||6h16m||+25°59’32.14″||11h03m|
|M 17 (Omega Nebula)||6.00||1h25m||6h17m||+26°55’16.83″||11h09m|
|M 11 (Wild Duck Cluster)||6.30||1h10m||6h47m||+36°49’42.71″||12h24m|
|M 57 (Ring Nebula)||8.80||21h45m||6h49m||+76°06’29.71″||15h53m|
|M 71 (Angelfish Cluster)||6.10||0h19m||7h50m||+61°53’38.12″||15h20m|
|M 27 (Dumbbell Nebula)||7.40||0h03m||7h55m||+65°50’11.65″||15h48m|
|M 29 (Cooling Tower Cluster)||6.60||22h15m||8h20m||+81°38’17.19″||18h24m|
|M 52 (Cassiopeia Salt-and-Pepper Cluster)||6.90||—||11h21m||+75°13’53.29″||—|
|M 34 (Spiral Cluster)||5.20||—||14h36m||+85°54’30.49″||—|
|M 38 (Starfish Cluster)||6.40||7h52m||17h23m||+78°55’31.77″||2h54m|
|M 36 (Pinwheel Cluster)||6.00||8h17m||17h30m||+77°12’25.75″||2h44m|
|M 37 (January Salt-and-Pepper Cluster)||5.60||8h47m||17h46m||+75°36’43.36″||2h46m|
|M 35 (Shoe-Buckle Cluster)||5.10||10h02m||18h03m||+67°23’11.06″||2h04m|
|M 44 (Beehive Cluster)||3.10||13h00m||20h35m||+62°38’43.98″||4h09m|
|M 67 (Golden-Eye Cluster)||6.90||13h50m||20h46m||+54°46’40.20″||3h41m|
|M 81 (Bode’s Galaxy)||6.94||—||21h51m||+67°59’27.92″||—|
|M 82 (Cigar Galaxy)||8.41||—||21h51m||+67°22’37.64″||—|
|M 66 (Leo Triplet)||8.92||16h14m||23h15m||+55°55’38.88″||6h16m|
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