Utah Skies: April Astronomical Events To Watch

Apr 26, 2021

Credit Bruce Horrocks

This last week of April will bring a couple of astronomical events that will be worth watching. The first of these will be the Lyrid Meteor Shower.  This will happen from April 16 to the 25, with the peak of the shower activity happening from April 22 to the 23.  The Lyrids is one of the oldest meteor showers and is named after the constellation Lyra.  Look to the east for the bright star Vega to have the best possible viewing during this week.

The other event to watch for is the second of four supermoons to happen this year.  This one will take place on April 27.  While the Farmer’s Almanac gives this full moon the name of the Pink Moon, it will not really look pink.  This name is given to the moon as it coincides with the arrival of the springtime blooms of certain pink wildflowers located in the eastern parts of North America. While it would be more interesting to see a pink colored moon, expect to see the usual golden color of the rising moon on the eastern horizon.

The moon is designated as a supermoon as its location in the sky will make it appear approximately 14% larger than a normal full moon and can appear to be 25% or more brighter.  Due to the fact that the orbital path of the moon is elliptical, the supermoons occur when the moon is at a location where it is closest to the earth known as perigee.  At this point in the moon's orbit, the moon is about 50,000 kilometers or 31,000 miles closer to the earth than normal.