The sky at night – April sees the return of meteor showers

Anna Ross – astronomer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich

April sees the first meteor shower since January, the Lyrids. This shower can be seen from April 16 to 25, with the peak night here in London being the 22nd and 23rd.

That night around 18 meteors per hour will be visible around the sky. This shower is named the Lyrids as they will appear to be radiating out from the constellation of Lyra.

During these evenings, Lyra will appear in the north-east of the sky, making that the best direction to look in to spot some meteors.

For the best chance of seeing some, find somewhere dark and give your eyes a good 15 minutes to fully adjust.

As well as meteors, a few planets will be visible during the April nights. Mars can be seen in the western sky during the early evenings of the beginning of April. It will look like one of the brightest stars in the sky and a little reddish in colour.

During the early hours of the mornings, the two largest planets in our solar system will also be visible quite close to each other.

Throughout the month, Jupiter and Saturn will slowly move from the south-east to directly south in the sky.

As we come into the spring months, the constellations we see in the sky will start to change to reflect this.

The clearest sign of this is the spring triangle. Made up of the stars Denebola in Leo, Spica in Virgo, and Arcturus in Boötes, this triangle will slowly travel south-east to south-west during each night in April.


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