After a relatively “hot” month of March, April promises more interesting days for fans of astronomy and space exploration. Along with two manned missions on the space station, including the historic Axiom Space Ax-1, we will have a meteor shower and even a solar eclipse.
In addition to the events mentioned here, between April 1 and 3, NASA will conduct a “wet test” of the SLS rocket that will launch the Artemis I mission on a journey around the Moon. The test result is important to determine the launch date of the mission, and we will publish all the news right here, on Netcost-Security.
We remind you that all geographical coordinates and dates mentioned here refer to an observer in Brasilia, and may differ slightly depending on your position in the country.
April Astronomical Calendar
April 1: a Rocket Lab Elecron rocket will launch two small satellites for BlackSky Global’s Earth observation fleet. It departs from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. The launch is scheduled for 9:35 am
Also on the 1st, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Transporter 4 mission, carrying 40 Starlink satellites and several other “rides.” It departs from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The launch is set for 1:24 p.m.
April 4: conjunction between Saturn and Mars, which will be near the sky at dawn. Find the pair near the constellation of Capricorn in the east. Bonus: Venus and Jupiter are almost identical, just below, with Jupiter closest to the horizon.
April 6: Axiom Space will launch Ax-1, the first fully private mission to the International Space Station. Four crew members will travel aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and remain in orbit for eight days. The mission will depart from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at a time to be determined.
April 20: NASA and SpaceX will launch the Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station. The Crew Dragon spacecraft will carry NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines and Jessica Watkins, as well as Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency. The Falcon 9 rocket will take off at 7:30 am from platform 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
April 21 and 22: Summit of the “Lyrid” meteor shower. They will be visible from 10:55 pm, when their bright (“shining”) point of origin, the constellation of Lyra, appears on the eastern horizon. The best time for sighting is around 4:00 am, and it will be active until dawn, around 6:00 am
Unfortunately, the Moon’s brightness in the waning quarter, in addition to the light pollution of large cities, can interfere with observation. According to estimates from the In the Sky website, under ideal conditions (clear skies and no light pollution) it is possible to observe up to 11 meteors per hour at the top.
April 30: a partial solar eclipse can be seen from southern South America, parts of Antarctica, and the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, but unfortunately not from Brazil. This eclipse coincides with the second new moon of April, also known as the Black Moon.
Also on April 30, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the geostationary communications satellite Nilesat 301 from Space Force Station Cape Canaveral, Florida at a time to be determined.
how to orient
To follow our astronomical calendar, it is important to know which direction to look and how to determine the major cardinal points. For this you can use an old trick, compass or astronomy app on your phone.
The old trick is based on a phrase you must have learned in school: “the sun rises in the east and sets in the west”. Stand up straight and stretch your arms, with the right pointing east and the left pointing west. So you will have east on the right, north in front, west on the left and south behind you.
For compasses, iPhone users don’t need an additional app: just use “Compass,” which is part of iOS. For Android, my recommendation is “A Compass” from PixelProse SARL, which is beautiful, simple, free, and most of all,.