Spring is here, and as the winter skies move on, the summer constellations begin to make their appearance.
On April 17th, the middle of the month, Mars will appear stationary before beginning what looks like a backwards journey. This is retrograde motion!
Retrograde motion is an illusion that occurs at certain times of the year, with some outer planets. It happens for a few months, around the time Earth moves between those planets and the sun.
It’s not a real motion of the planets – only an illusion caused by our faster motion on Earth.
There will be a lunar occultation of Venus on the 6th, when the planet will be seen to disappear behind the moon’s lit side and reappear from the dark limb.
Look out for the perigee-syzygy moon on the 7th, a new moon at the closest point to Earth. Followed by the apogee-syzygy moon on the 21st, a full moon at the furthest point away from Earth.
The Lyrids meteor shower will visit us between the 16th-25th of April, however the phase of the moon is not favourable, so catching the meteors may not be easy.
Enjoy your April stargazing!