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The big astronomical event for this month is the total solar eclipse on April 8. If you would like to see the totality, hopefully you have already made your plans. Our area will see about 90 percent coverage. Be sure to use authentic viewing glasses or a camera obscura to observe the eclipse. The totality will last up to 4 minutes, 28 seconds in certain spots, twice as long as the full solar eclipse that darkened U.S. skies in 2017.
If you have animals, it can be interesting to observe their behavior during an eclipse. Many animals will react as if it is night, for obvious reasons. Dolphins have been observed breaching the surface to watch these events in the past.
I will be traveling to Maine to view the eclipse. Please see the 4/17 Full Run for the details on my experience.
April 8 – Total Solar Eclipse. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely blocks the Sun, revealing the Sun’s beautiful outer atmosphere known as the corona. This is a rare, once-in-a-lifetime event for viewers in the United States. The last total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States occurred in 2017 and the next one will not take place until 2045. The path of totality will begin in the Pacific Ocean and move across parts of Mexico and the eastern United States and Nova Scotia. The total eclipse will be visible in parts of Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

April 22, 23 – Lyrids Meteor Shower. The Lyrids is an average shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, which was discovered in 1861. The shower runs annually from April 16-25. It peaks this year on the night of the night of the 22nd and morning of the 23rd. These meteors can sometimes produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. Unfortunately the glare of the full moon will block out all but the brightest meteors this year. But if you are patient, you may still be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Lyra, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

April 23 – Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated.

May 6, 7 – Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Eta Aquarids is an above average shower, capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. Most of the activity is seen in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the rate can reach about 30 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet Halley, which has been observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from April 19 to May 28. It peaks this year on the night of May 6 and the morning of the May 7. The nearly new moon means dark skies for what should be an excellent show this year. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
—By Amanda Olsen with
information from SeaSky.org

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