What to see in the sky in April: Pink Moon and Lyrid fireballs

The super moon rises above King's Lynn Minster. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The full moon over King's Lynn Minster. This month's is called the Pink Moon. - Credit: Archant

Stargazers are in for a treat in April, with views of everything from the Pink Moon to the Lyrid meteor shower.

Here is everything you can see in the sky this month.

The moon

Phases for March are as follows:

  • New moon - April 1
  • First quarter - April 9
  • Pink Moon - April 16
    • This moon gets its name not from its colour but by coordinating with the flowers blooming for spring. Other common names are the Frog Moon and the Sugar Maker Moon.
    • This month's full moon is also the Paschal Moon, the first full moon of spring which determines the date of Easter.
  • Last quarter - April 23
  • New moon - April 30
    • There is a partial solar eclipse on April 30 but this will only be visible in the southern hemisphere.

The stars and planets

Saturn became visible at the end of March and it is easier than normal to identify it due to its proximity to Mars and Venus.

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Venus will appear brightly in the east, with Mars to the right and Saturn to the lower left.

These will be visible low in the sky for about 60 minutes before sunrise.

There will be a conjunction between Saturn and Mars at the start of the month. 

Jupiter will join in mid-April to form a four-planet line on the pre-dawn horizon.

The line will be in the order of Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn.

There will be a Venus and Jupiter conjunction at the end of the month, appearing an hour before sunset to the southeast.

A meteor during the Perseid meteor shower seen over Happisburgh lighthouse, Norfolk.

The Lyrid shower will be this month. Pictured: The Perseid meteor shower over Happisburgh lighthouse in August 2021 - Credit: PA Wire

Other 

Lyrid meteor shower

Active between April 15 and April 29, this shower will peak on April 22.

This shower is associated with Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, being debris from the comet

It will be before midnight and will be highest in the sky at dawn.

There will be around 10 to 15 meteors per hour, characterised by leaving persistent trails.

Some meteors can be brighter, known as 'Lyrid fireballs'.

The International Space Station

The ISS will be visible from March 25 to April 9. 

It will appear between 8pm and 10pm for a few minutes moving from west-southwest to south-southwest.

Belt of Venus

As we move into summer this phenomenon will become more visible.

As the sun sets in the west, turn to face the east and notice the band of pink and orange sky with a blue band underneath.

The bands move upwards and arch over the sky and this is the Earth's shadow rising.

The pink band is known as the Belt of Venus.