Solar eclipse, meteor shower and comet: see what the sky will be like in April

Solar eclipse, meteor shower and comet: see what the sky will be like in April
Solar eclipse, meteor shower and comet: see what the sky will be like in April
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Next Monday, April 8th, day will turn to night for a few minutes in the northern hemisphere. Only those in the upper part of the planet will be able to watch the total eclipse of the sun – when the Moon is between the Sun and the Earth, casting a shadow on the Earth.

In Brazil, unfortunately it will not be possible to view it. But, whoever wants to follow the phenomenon, You can watch the eclipse on the North American Space Agency (NASA) websitewhich will cover live via free streamingon the official website and app.

But what can we see in Brazil in April? Here, we will be treated to a Lirid meteor shower on April 22nd. According to NASA, the phenomenon happens when several meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere at the same time. As the rock enters the planet, air resistance causes the meteor to heat up. Therefore, we see a “shooting star” streaking across the sky.

To observe the phenomenon, simply look in the sky towards the north on the night of the 22nd. Normally no special equipment is needed, but it is important that the observer goes to a very dark place. It is important to say that if the sky is cloudy, or the moon is full or almost full, visibility may be compromised. On April 22nd, the moon will be almost full.

In addition to the meteor shower, Brazilians will be able to observe comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, also called “Devil’s Comet”, throughout the month. The comet’s nickname refers to its horn shape, created by a tail of gas and dust.

The good news is that the comet can be seen with the naked eye, but it is recommended to use binoculars. The best day to view the phenomenon will be April 23, when the comet will reach its closest point to the sun and, therefore, shine brightest.

The Astronomical Ephemerides guide at the Valongo Observatory, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), annually releases a guide with all astronomical phenomena of the year. Below, you can see the complete list of what to expect in April.

See the phenomena that will happen in April:

  • 06/04 – Conjunction between the Moon and Saturn, before dawn, eastward, in the constellation Aquarius;
  • 07/04 – Conjunction between Moon and Venus. On the same day, Mars, Saturn, Moon and Venus will form a beautiful celestial quartet before dawn, heading east, between the constellations of Aquarius and Pisces;
  • 08/04 – Total solar eclipse visible in Mexico, USA and Canada, equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean and North Atlantic. Invisible in Brazil;
  • 10/04 – Conjunction between Mars and Saturn before dawn, eastward, in the constellation Aquarius. The stars will be separated by just 0.7º; and Conjunction between the Moon, Jupiter and comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, in the early evening, towards the west, in the constellation of Aries. The stars will be very low on the horizon;
  • 04/20 – Conjunction between Jupiter and Uranus, westward, in the constellation of Aries. The stars will be only 0.4° apart, but they will be very close to the western horizon during twilight. Uranus can only be seen using binoculars, in dark skies;
  • 04/21 – Perihelion of comet 12P/Pons-Brooks. This star will be visible, through binoculars, in dark skies, throughout the month, when it will transit through the constellations of Aries and Taurus;
  • 04/22 – Maximum activity of the Lirids meteor shower, which can be observed during the morning in the north direction;
  • 04/23 – Predicted date for the maximum brightness of comet 12P/Pons Brooks, which will be visible in the early evening, in the constellation of Taurus;
  • 04/30 – Saturn, Mars and Mercury will be visually aligned before dawn, heading east, between the constellations of Aquarius and Pisces.

*With information from CNN Brasil

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Solar eclipse meteor shower comet sky April

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