What’s Up with the Sky?

Jake J. '26

Stop looking down at your phones and other devices!

Instead, take some time to gaze at the beautiful night sky above you. Throughout the next several weeks, many spectacular astronomical events will be observable. Stunning views of a meteor shower, full moons, and views of multiple planets will dazzle you. However, make sure you make time for these events because some may only be visible for a short time period.

The first of these magnificent events is the Lyrid Meteor Shower. The shower occurs every year from the 16th to the 25th of April, with the best day of viewing occurring on April 22. The Lyrid Meteor Shower results from small pieces of Comet Thatcher breaking off and hitting the Earth. Meteors are commonly referred to as “shooting stars”. Around 15-20 meteors are visible during an hour. However, in some years, up to 100 meteors can be seen in an hour. The Lyrids are one of the oldest recorded meteor showers. They date back to 687 B.C. If you do not have a telescope or binoculars, you can still marvel at the meteor shower if you are watching in a location that is dark and away from artificial light sources.

Towards the end of the Lyrid Meteor Shower, a rare view of the sky containing four planets will be visible from April 23-29. The planets, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus, will line up as a quartet across the morning sky. The brightest of these planets will be Venus, followed by Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. Eventually, during the end of the time period, the four planets will join the Earth’s moon and Mercury to make an incredible site for you to see. To view this grouping of planets, you might want to set your alarm clock for school a bit earlier. Approximately 45 minutes before sunrise will be the best time to view. It will be a great way to start your day!

Another amazing event in the sky in April will be the appearance of the bright Pink Moon. Sadly, the Moon does not actually turn pink or have a pink hue, but it will be one of the last full moons visible at its peak for the year. The Pink Moon is the name for the full moon of April. Full Moons occur every 27 days and are significantly brighter than any other object in the night sky. The best day to look for this moon will be on April 16th, at the start of the Lyrid Meteor Shower. The next full moon you will be able to spy in the sky will be the Flower Moon of May. The Flower Moon will be perfect to view at night as well. Its peak will be on Monday, May 16th, in the early morning hours. The names of each full moon originated from the Native Americans. The Pink Moon signals the start of spring, and the Flower Moon reflects the blooming of flowers in May. The Native Americans have a name for every full moon of the year, so you will have a moon to look forward to every month!

 The sky above Earth provides an endless stage of entertaining and amazing events. The ticket for admission to the celestial performances are free. Coming up in April and May are just a few of these interesting phenomena. The Lyrid Meteor Shower, a parade of planets, the Pink Moon, and the Flower Moon will make the sky sparkle with wonder.

Put down your cellphone and take a moment to enjoy what’s up in the night or morning sky above you.