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April Stargazing: Jupiter, Constellations and the Lyrid Meteor Shower on the April Night Sky

Apr 04, 2017 11:51 AM EDT
The Annual Perseid Meteor Shower
This month, stargazers can expect a spectacular show.
(Photo : Bill Ingalls/NASA viaGetty Images)

There might not be a rare celestial occurrence this April, but the month is not lacking spectacular stargazing events to look after. This month, there will be a Jupiter opposition and the Lyrid meteor shower.

Experts say that the star planet of the month is Jupiter. It's biggest and brightest form will be visible on April 4.

According to ABC, not only will Jupiter grace the Earth of its presence, four out of its known 67 moons will also be visible via binoculars and telescopes. Aside from the gas planet, its moons Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa will also be visible sometime this month.

The cloud bands on the surface of Jupiter are easily recognizable if the planet is viewed using even just a small telescope. This month is a great opportunity for stargazers to catch a glimpse of Jupiter and its features.

Various constellations will also be visible this month including the Southern Cross, Orion, Sirius and Ursa Major. Galaxies M81 and M82 can also be spotted this month.

However, the most anticipated spectacle in April is the Lyrid meteor shower. Reports say that the Lyrid shower is the oldest meteor show on record and originated from the comet Thatcher.

During the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower, stargazers can expect about 10 to 15 meteors per hour, according to a report. This is during moonless and cloudless April nights. The peak of the shower will occur between April 22 and 23.

Astronomers assured the public that the crescent moon won't hinder the show. What's interesting about Lyrid is that sometimes, there are surges in the number of meteors per hour to a maximum of a hundred. However, the outbursts remain unpredictable.

Thatcher comet orbits the Sun once every 415 years. This is what makes Lyrid the oldest meteor shower on record. Lyrid is named after the constellation Lyra, where the most radiant point of the shower was once observed.

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