So many activities have become impossible to enjoy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it turns out social distancing doesn’t have to interrupt your stargazing habit. Alternatively, if that’s something you never thought about doing with your evening, well, nothing is stopping you now.
April is a good month to get out in the yard at night or head to an open, dark space out of town where you can be safely distanced from anyone else looking up into the night sky. It’s a good month because it’s finally starting to feel like spring and there’s a wide variety of events taking place up in the stars. Among the spectacles, there’s a supermoon, the first meteor shower after
Late April/Early May: Farewell to Orion
Orion is one of the most recognizable constellations in the night sky. It pops up throughout most of the US in November and hangs around through the winter and into the spring. When it will disappear from sight is going to vary based on your latitude. However, EarthSky notes that it’ll start to disappear for skywatchers in the central US in early May. It’ll be out of sight for anyone in the contiguous US by the summer solstice on June 20.
April and Into May: Comet ATLAS
First discovered in late December, Comet ATLAS is getting closer and closer to Earth while getting brighter and brighter in our skies. Early in April, the full moon will interfere with your ability to spot the comet, but it’s visible through a telescope or high-powered binoculars throughout April, representatives from The ATLAS Project tell Thrillist. If you’re getting out the telescope now, look toward the constellation Camelopardalis in the north-northwest sky.
Update: The comet has broken into pieces and is dimming. All hope of having a brilliant comet you could see with the naked eye has been extinguished. However, a new comet, Comet Swan, is giving hope that an event like this might still happen in 2020.