Mercury will start very low in the West North West but will be lost in the glare of the Sun towards the end of April. Venus will not be observable this month. Mars rises in the East South East near midnight and transits in the South around 4am. Jupiter will be seen high in the South East after dark and transits near 11pm. Sets in the West near 5am. Saturn rises in the South East after midnight and transits in the South near 4am.
On April 10 the crescent moon occults Aidebaran Gamma. On April 17 Mars is stationary and the moon will be 2 degrees to the lower right of Jupiter. The full moon known as the Pink Moon will be seen on April 22. Also on the night of April 23 the Lyrids Meteor Shower will command the night sky (More about that later). On April 24 the Moon, Mars and Saturn will rise in a loose grouping around midnight
The Lyrids Meteor Shower is not one of the strongest showers but has been known to give random bursts of high activity. Shooting Stars associated with the shower should be visible. In past years the Lyrids have averaged 10 per hour. The Moon will be 16 days old at the time of peak activity and being so close to the full moon will seriously limit viewing.
The Sunshine Coast Centre meeting will be at the Arts Centre in Sechelt on April 8 and will feature Dr. Catherine Johnson who is a Professor of Planetary Geophysics in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Dr. Johnson’s research interests include the Magnetic fields of Mercury, Mars, Earth and the Moon, plus Lithospheric structure, and interior evolution of Venus, Lunar and Martian Seismicity and interior structure.
The Astro Cafe at Davis Bay will be back on April 17 at 8pm. Weather permitting the Sunshine Coast Observatory may open to view the Lyrids meteor shower on April 23. Watch www.coastastronomy.ca for more info.