We had a couple of Lunar conjunctions, on April 11th. there was the Mars/ Moon conjunction, the image above, I had clear skies for that one and with the earthshine made for a pretty picture. The image below was the Saturn /Lunar conjunction of April 14th. Had lots of fast moving clouds with little earthshine, image below, still made for a pretty image, note the fast moving clouds, at least they broke to give me a view of Saturn the Moon and Regulus, or the technical official name Alpha Leonis, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion.
Another friendly reminder about the upcoming Lyrid meteor shower Monday the 21st. through to the morning of the 22nd. This is the peak time for the shower, it actually starts April the 16th. through to the morning of the 25th. They are calling for snow the 21 and 22 here in Saskatoon so I was out to see what I could see last Thursday night, the last clear sky to be had for a week or so, I saw around 6 an hour average over the 3 hours I was out, not bad for a non peak night, and a huge one right over my head, where the camera wasn't pointing. I got a shot of a couple meteors I will post after the event in case I get a break in the clouds on the 21st. Look to the NE around 11 pm EDT for the show to begin. The radiant or the place where the meteors appear to emanate from is the Lyra constellation. Expect 10- 15 an hour, by the way they are short and very fast, at least the ones I saw. The Moon will be full so will take a little away from the contrast but hey it's a meteor shower, nothing better then wishing on a falling star.
One of the things I try to do here at Black holes is make the sky a little more user friendly, more enjoyable so that when you go out for a walk at night you know a little bit more, like what is that bright star next to the Moon, or where to look for a conjunction or when the next meteor shower is. Our Royal Astronomical Society of Canada President Scott Young came up with a TOP TEN list of ways to turn young people off astronomy, it was of course written for other amateur astronomers but you can still get a laugh or two out of it.
10: Show them a deep sky object in a small or medium sized scope as their first look.
9: Bash the Tasco scope they already own as not worth using.
8: Lapse into jargon and spew technical details and costs of your gear, and how you need to have perfect gear and perfect conditions or it's not worth observing.
7: Rant about light pollution without a good idea of what to say.(This can make astronomers sound like fringe environmentalists.)
6: Spend time talking with the inner circle at a Centre meeting and ignore the newbies.
5: Explain how using a computer-aided telescope isn't real astronomy.
4: Assume the newbie at the public star night will see the same level of detail that your 35-years-of-experience-eyes can see.
3: Show them Venus, Mercury, an asteroid, an outer planet or dwarf planet, a double star, a variable star, a planetary nebula, a galaxy, a star cluster, or about any northern-hemisphere deep-sky object other than the Orion Nebula.
2: Show them Mars, EXCEPT at a favourable opposition in a big scope with good seeing and a red filter.
1: Mock their misconceptions or beliefs about the universe the first time you meet them(and they meet you).
I'd like to leave you with one of the cloudy Moon images I took a few nights ago as an animated Gif