Every Monday I select the northern hemisphere’s celestial highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week forward, however you should definitely examine my important feed for extra in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses and extra.
What To Watch For In The Evening Sky This Week: April 12-18, 2021
Welcome to the perfect week for stargazing in April. Not solely does it start with a New Moon, however there follows a couple of evenings the place you’ll have the ability to spot an ever-increasing crescent Moon. What’s extra, it’s a extremely vital one, its first sighting kicking-off Ramadan. This week additionally sees the official return of Venus to the night sky in addition to a sky-full of Spring stars—not least these of Leo, the Lion. However not earlier than a really particular evening of celebration for house followers worldwide …
Monday, April 12, 2021: ‘Yuri’s Evening’ and a New Moon
At 02:31 Common Time at this time it’s New Moon, so its a fantastic evening for stargazing. It’s additionally an evening to recollect a couple of key milestones within the historical past of spaceflight. At present is Worldwide Day of Human Area Flight and the sixtieth anniversary of the launch of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1 to turn out to be the primary man in house. Tonight is a “world house celebration” known as Yuri’s Evening. It’s additionally the fortieth anniversary of the inaugural launch of the primary Area Shuttle on April 12, 1981.
Tuesday, April 13, 2021: Sighting of crescent Moon indicators begin of Ramadan
The 30-day Islamic competition of Ramadan begins with the primary sighting of the super-slim crescent Moon over Mecca, the birthplace of Muhammad. That crescent Moon could also be sighted as a tiny crescent on Monday, but it surely’s much more more likely to be seen this night at nightfall as a brighter 3% crescent barely greater within the western sky.
Thursday, April 15, 2021: Moon between Pleiades and Hyades
Look halfway up the western sky after darkish to see a waxing 13%-lit waxing crescent Moon shining excessive within the southwestern sky between two of the closest open clusters of stars to the Photo voltaic System—the Pleiades and the Hyades—within the constellation of Taurus. Shiny orange supergiant star Aldebaran will lurk on the Moon’s left-hand facet.
Friday, April 16, 2021: Jupiter will get an additional moon, Moon and Mars within the bull’s horns
Within the pre-dawn sky Jupiter seem to cross very near star known as 51 Capricorn in the identical constellation. Put binoculars or a small a telescope on Jupiter and also you’ll see “51 Cap” as an “further moon” between Callisto and Europa. It’s clearly solely a line-of-sight phenomena since Jupiter is 820 million kilometers from us whereas the star is 89 light-years away.
Tonight after nightfall you’ll have the ability to see, excessive within the southwestern sky, a now 20%-lit waxing crescent Moon roughly between the blue-giant stars Tianguan (445 light-years distant) and Elnath (130 light-years) , which characterize the guidelines of the horns of Taurus, the bull, and solely 5º from Mars.
Saturday, April 17, 2021: The Moon and Mars
Look to the southwest after darkish and also you’ll the the ‘pink planet’ about 5º from a 28%-lit Moon. As seen from components of Asia solely, the ‘pink planet’ will tonight be occulted—covered-up—by the Moon for a couple of hours.
Sunday, April 18, 2021: The return of Venus
The “Night Star” is again! Look west simply after the Solar has sunk this night and also you’ll see the planet Venus, although there’s no actual have to look tonight. The truth is, it’s going to turn out to be a lot simpler, a lot brighter and far simpler to identify within the coming weeks and months … actually, will probably be using ever greater in night sky till mid-December!
Constellation of the week: Leo, the Lion
Look between the Large Dipper and Orion—roughly south however excessive within the sky—and also you’ll discover the constellation of Leo. Seen all evening lengthy in April, Leo is dominated by the star Denebola on the tip of its tail and, nearer to Orion, Regulus at one of many lion’s entrance paws, Leo is most well-known for the “query mark” form that makes-up the lion’s head. It’s really backwards, with Regulus because the interval.
Occasions and dates given apply to mid-northern latitudes. For essentially the most correct location-specific data seek the advice of on-line planetariums like Stellarium and The Sky Stay. Verify planet-rise/planet-set, dawn/sundown and moonrise/moonset occasions for the place you’re.
Wishing you clear skies and huge eyes.