Do you like watching the Moon and the planets, as well as following the main launches of space missions? Then, you will have a very busy month of April and full of unmissable events.
One of the highlights for observers of the night sky is the Lyrids meteor shower, which happens in the fourth month of the year, when the dust of comet Thatcher enters the Earth’s atmosphere. It also has conjunctions of the Moon with Jupiter, Mars and Saturn and the beautiful Pink Super Moon.
As for space exploration, the biggest highlight is the long-awaited flight of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars, when the small device will become the first aircraft to perform a controlled flight on another planet.
April astronomical events
Prepare binoculars and telescopes, as well as cell phones and notebooks to accompany space missions, and keep an eye on the main events on the April astronomical calendar.
April 6: Conjunction Moon and Saturn
The natural satellite and the gas giant will be very close, becoming visible in the early hours of the morning, with the moon appearing to the east on the horizon and the planet to the left.
April 7: Conjunction Moon and Jupiter, launch of the Starlink satellites
The next day, it is Jupiter’s turn to approach, appearing above the Moon, in the eastern portion of the sky, just after 2 am.
Also on the 7th, SpaceX launches another 60 Starlink satellites, aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, in Cape Canaveral (USA), at 1:34 pm.
April 8: Flight of Ingenuity on Mars
The NASA drone is expected to make its first flight attempt on the Red Planet on this date, rising 3 meters high and hovering in the air for a few seconds.
April 9: Launch of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft
The Russian spacecraft will depart from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:42 am, taking three crew members to the International Space Station (ISS).
April 16: Return of ISS astronauts
Astronaut Kate Rubins and two other Russian cosmonauts return from the orbital laboratory aboard the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft, and are due to land in Kazakhstan a day later.