April feast for star-gazers; Jupiter visit, Lyrids meteor shower and much more

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The April feast. Source: sinoquebec
For star-gazers around the world, this month will be a small, but a great treat. Our giant relative will put on a good show throughout the month.
Jupiter, Earth and Sun in a single line.
Credits: NASA

One can view Jupiter all night long. On April 7, it reaches opposition. It will shine the brightest and will appear larger than usual. The solar system is lined up so that Jupiter, Earth and the sun form a straight line, with Earth in the middle. Jupiter, the king of planets, will also appear highest overhead at midnight.

The Great Red spot.
Credits :NASA
Jupiter’s four moons will also visit the planet. The sky-gazers can also see Jupiter’s four Galilean moons, namely Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, through binoculars. And through a telescope, one can easily view Jupiter’s cloud belts and zones. For every 10 hours, the observers can see the Great Red Spot beginning its transit, or crossing of the disk.
The Galilean moons.
Credits : NASA

The Summer Triangle is made of the three bright stars.  Deneb in Cygnus, the Swan, Altair in Aquila, the Eagle, and Vega in Lyra, the Lyre or harp will form this triangle. The star-gazers can also spot Vega and Lyra high in the eastern sky, few hours after midnight this month.

The Summer Triangle.
Credits: NASA-JPL

April also has a special visit from celestial bodies. This year’s second major meteor shower will radiate through the Summer Triangle. The meteor shower, the Lyrids or the April Lyrids generally last from April 16 to April 26, each year.

Alike every year, it peaks this month, in the morning hours of April 22. For all the keen and also patient observers, a great feast awaits. Around 18 meteors per hour will shower before dawn from a dark sky location.

The Lyrids meteor shower.
Credits : NASA-JPL