April- Star Party! Planetary Conjunctions and Lyrid Meteor Shower!
Star Party April 9th
Time: Saturday, April 9th, 4-9pm
1 Van Buren
Irvine, CA 92620
We are going to set up in the red circled area pictured below. Near the basketball courts.
Feel free to bring out your telescope or just bring yourself. There will be lots of telescopes set up and amateur astronomers to answer questions and show the sky!
Questions? Feel free to call us at the store. Ask for Lorenz!
Conjunction of Saturn & Mars
Saturn and Mars will be in conjunction on April 4 and 5 at 12:30 UTC (April 4 and 5 at 05:30 AM PDT). The conjunction is so tight the planets are separated by 0.4 degrees and may give the illusion of a single point of light to the naked eye. This conjunction will be striking as both planets hold similar magnitude (Saturn +0.9, Mars +1.0), but with a contrast in colors. Although this conjunction spans over two days, you will see two different views on both days. Saturn will flip positions with Mars on April 5. We have a bonus for the Pacific Time Zone as Venus and Jupiter will join Saturn and Mars in the sky before the Sun rises around 06:20 AM PDT.
Lyrid Meteor Shower
In the early morning hours of April 23rd, head out for a night sky show of meteoric proportions. The year’s first major meteor shower in the northern hemisphere, the Lyrids, will peak after dawn on the 23rd, so your best viewing prospects will be in the pre-dawn hours. The Lyrids typically produce a Zenith Hourly Rate (ZHR) around 18 on the night of peak activity.
Despite their name, look for them from the radiant point in the constellation Hercules; this will be visible most of the night for stargazers in the northern hemisphere. Unfortunately, a bright waxing gibbous Moon will interfere a bit with meteor-spotting opportunities, but it’s still worth heading out to try and spot them if your skies are clear.
Conjunction: Venus, Jupiter and Moon
Watch Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon from April 27 to April 30 for a spectacular morning show. On April 27 in the pre-dawn sky Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon will be in conjunction. This conjunction will be striking to capture as both planets will be visible near a Waning Crescent Moon with only 12% illumination.
Continue to watch these two planets over the next couple of days and you will see them get closer and closer together for a Conjunction on the April 30. Venus will pass just 0°14' to the south of Jupiter. For those in Los Angeles, the best time to view is between 04:13 PDT and when the Sun rises at 05:46 PDT. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. We do not recommend viewing the conjunction at its closest point if this will occur during daylight hours in your time zone.