Dark Sky News

April 2024

This month’s meeting (Thurs. Mar. 26): How to Image the Solar Eclipse!

Click here for the SAS Pictures of the Month (April 2024)!

Galaxy season is in full gear! Check out some of these beautiful galaxies:

M51: Whirlpool Galaxy in Ursa Major

M101: Pinwheel Galaxy in Ursa Major (visible with binoculars)

M81/M82 Galaxy Pair in Ursa Major

Leo Triplet: NGC 3623, NGC 3627, and NGC 3628

M97 and M108: beautiful Owl planetary nebula and spiral galaxy in the same 40X view!

M95, M96: a beautiful pair of galaxies in Leo

Here’s a link to my very first astrophotos of galaxies in the April sky!

Perfect time to observe some deep sky galaxy objects!

Imagine that! The new moon coincides with the Total Solar Eclipse 🙂  A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely blocks the Sun, revealing the Sun’s beautiful outer atmosphere known as the corona. This is a rare, once-in-a-lifetime event for viewers in the United States. The last total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States occurred in 2017 and the next one will not take place until 2045, so don’t miss out! Find out all you need to know here from NASA.

The Mount Everest-sized ‘Devil Comet’, officially known as 12P/Pons-Brooks may be observable with the naked eye in the coming weeks. Its closest proximity to the Sun on April 21 is expected to make it most visible mid-April. Under optimal conditions-absent of moonlight, minimal light pollution, and clear skies-there is a chance to spot it without the aid of telescopes, but binoculars should definitely help! Look for the small, greyish haze just after sunset, now in the constellation Pisces, and soon to be in Aries not far from Jupiter. Check out some great info about the comet here.

The Lyrids is an average shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, which was discovered in 1861. The shower peaks this year on the night of the night of the 22nd and morning of the 23rd. These meteors can sometimes produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. Unfortunately the glare of the full moon will block out all but the brightest meteors this year. But if you are patient, you may still be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Lyra, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

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