Night sky this week

Every Monday, I pick out the most notable North American celestial objects for the week ahead (which also applies to the mid-northern latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere), but check back Check out my main feed For more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses and more.

The night sky this week: April 29 – May 4, 2024

This week sees the peak of one of the best meteor showers of 2024. Running from April 15 through May 27 and peaking on the night of May 4-5, the Eta Aquaridites – caused by Halley's Comet – could produce a maximum shot of 50 inches. stars” per hour, according to American Meteor Societyalthough the probability of this happening is 10-30 per hour.

With the night sky devoid of strong moonlight this week, it's the perfect time of the month to get out and look after dark. Here's everything you need to know about stargazing and astronomy this week:

Monday, April 29: Mars and Neptune

Rise before the sun and look east to see a beautiful sight: Saturn and Mars. If you wait until about 40 minutes before sunrise, you will also be able to experience Mercury. However, any time you find Mars, put some binoculars on it because, to its upper right, the eighth planet will be Neptune. It is a rare opportunity to easily find this far away world.

Wednesday, May 1: Last quarter moon

The last quarter of the moon is an important time of the month for stargazers. It marks the point at which the 50% illuminated (and waning) Moon rises after midnight, leaving the early evening sky free of moonlight pollution. Stars will appear brighter, as will star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. It's the perfect time to use a telescope, binoculars, or just your naked eyes.

Friday, May 3: Saturn and the Moon

Look to the east before sunrise, and you'll see a 29% waning crescent moon less than a degree away from the ringed planet. This is the width of a finger extended to the sky.

Saturday, May 4: Saturn, Moon and Mars

If you wake up early again, look to the east before sunrise, and you'll see a 19% thinner waning crescent between Saturn and Mars.

Sunday, May 5: Peak of the Eta Aquaridus meteor shower

Expected to produce about 20 to 30 meteors per hour — and as many as 50, if some predictions hold true — Eta Aquarius peaks in the early pre-dawn hours this morning. It will happen in a dark, moonless sky. The best display of a 'meteor' since the Geminids event in December, the Eta Aquariids meteor shower is caused by a stream of debris deposited in the inner solar system by Halley's Comet.

This month's stargazing tip: Watch for meteor showers

Here are some tips on seeing meteor showers NASA:

  • Stay away from light pollution in urban areas as much as possible.
  • Find a location with a clear, unobstructed view of the night sky.
  • Dress warmly, as it can get very cold.
  • Be patient and observe for at least half an hour, preferably in a reclining chair or floor cushion.
  • Do not use a telescope or binoculars, as they greatly reduce the chances of seeing “meteors.”
  • Avoid looking at your mobile phone or any other white light, it will ruin your night vision. Use red light only.

Specific times and dates apply to mid-northern latitudes. For more accurate site-specific information, consult online planetariums such as Stellarium And Sky Live. Checks Planet rising/planet set, sunset Sunrise And Moonrise/moonset times.

I wish you clear skies and wide eyes.

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