Observing

Get ready for the Lyrid meteor shower this weekend

20 April 2018 Ade Ashford

If skies are clear between moonset and the first glimmer of dawn this weekend, you may get to see some celestial fireworks from the Lyrid meteor shower. While it may not be the richest of the annual shooting star displays, the Lyrids can deliver a few fireballs and a portion of these medium-speed meteors can leave glowing trains.

Observing

See the young crescent Moon meet Venus at dusk on 18 April

18 April 2018 Ade Ashford

Observers in Western Europe should try to locate Venus low in the western sky an hour after sunset. The 3-day-old slim crescent Moon acts as a convenient guide, located some 12½ degrees (or half the span of an outstretched hand at arm’s length) to the upper left of the brightest planet on 18 April. Prominent star Aldebaran lies in the same low-power binocular field of view as the Moon too.

Picture This

Hubble captures extremely remote galaxy cluster

16 April 2018 William Harwood

The Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3 captured an image of a massive galaxy cluster some six billion light years from Earth, part of a program to find targets for the James Webb Space Telescope.

Picture This

Jupiter’s red spot might be shrinking, but it’s still great!

10 April 2018 William Harwood

The Juno probe’s public-outreach camera routinely captures stunning views of Jupiter cloudtops and storms, including the Great Red Spot, seen here in an image processed by graphic artist Seán Doran. The GRS has been shrinking for years, but it remains easily the largest storm in the solar system and one still worthy of its name.