What’s Up for April 2017

Jupiter, the king of the planets, is visible all night long, and the Lyrids meteor shower peaks on April 22.

On April 7, Jupiter–the king of planets–reaches opposition, when it shines brightest and appears largest. 

Jupiter will be almost directly overhead at midnight.

This is also a great time to observe the planet’s Galilean moons–Io, Ganymeade, Europa and Callisto. They can be easily seen through binoculars.

With binoculars, you can even see the Great Red Spot as the storm transits the planet every ten hours.

Looking east on April 22, look to the skies for the Summer Triangle, consisting of Deneb, in Cygnus, the Swan; Altair in Aquila, the Eagle; and Vega, in Lyre(the Harp).

Get ready for the Lyrids, the year’s second major meteor shower, as it pierces the Summer Triangle in the early morning hours of April 22. Since the shower begins close to the new moon, expect excellent almost moonless viewing conditions.  

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Astronomical & Astrological Events in April 🌌

April 1st: Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation
April 2nd: Venus Retrograde enters Pisces; Jupiter biquintile Neptune
April 6th: Saturn enters Retrograde
April 7th: Jupiter at Opposition
April 9th: Mercury enters Retrograde
April 11th: Full Moon in Libra
April 15th: Venus Direct
April 19th: Sun enters Taurus
April 20th: Pluto enters Retrograde; Mercury Retrograde enters Aries
April 21st: Mars enters Gemini
April 22nd: Lyrids Meteor Shower
April 23rd: Lyrids Meteor Shower
April 26th: New Moon in Taurus
April 28th: Venus enters Aries
April 29th: International Astronomy Day
April 30th: Saturn square Chiron

The annual Lyrid meteor shower peaked before dawn on April 22nd, as our planet plowed through dust from the tail of long-period comet Thatcher. Seen from the high, dark, and dry Atacama desert a waning crescent Moon and brilliant Venus join Lyrid meteor streaks in this composited view. Captured over 5 hours on the night of April 21/22, the meteors stream away from the shower’s radiant, a point not very far on the sky from Vega, alpha star of the constellation Lyra.

In the foreground are domes of the Las Campanas Observatory housing (left to right) the 2.5 meter du Pont Telescope and the 1.3 meter Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) telescope.

Image Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory, TWAN)

Lyrids Meteor Shower Magick 🌠

The Lyrids is a meteor shower that takes place from April 16th to April 26th of this year, with its peak being around April 22nd. The Lyrids meteor shower is named for the constellation Lyra, with it’s radiant point originating from the constellation’s brightest star, Alpha Lyrae, otherwise known as Vega. 

Magickal workings that would be appropriate to perform during the Lyrids meteor shower include those having to do with:

  • The underworld
  • Enchantment 
  • Immortality of the soul
  • Music 
  • Love

It is said that the first lyre ever made was given to Orpheus by Hermes as a bargain. The music produced by this lyre was so great that even inanimate objects could be charmed by it. 

“At one point, Orpheus married Eurydice, a nymph. While fleeing from an attack by Aristaeus, she stepped on a snake that bit her, killing her. To reclaim her, Orpheus entered the Underworld, where the music from his lyre charmed Hades. Hades relented and let Orpheus bring Eurydice back, on the condition that he never once look back until outside. Unfortunately, near the very end, Orpheus faltered and looked back, causing Eurydice to be left in the Underworld forever. Orpheus spent the rest of his life strumming his lyre while wandering aimlessly through the land, rejecting all marriage offers from women.”

Associated Herbs/Resins:

  • Spirit work - Aconite (Wolfsbane, Monkshood), Apple, Bay Laurel, Birch, Cedar, Copal, Cypress, Elder, Lavender, Mandrake, Marigold, Mugwort, Mullein, Pomegranate, Thyme, Tobacco, Willow, Wormwood, Yew
  • Enchanting - *The herb will depend on the type of enchantment you are performing*
  • Creativity - Dragon’s Blood, Fig, Lavender, Lemon Verbena (Vervain), Orange, Pomegranate, Rosemary, Tangerine, Valerian, Wild Cherry Bark, Willow, Yellow Pepper
  • Love - Acacia, Allspice (Pimento), Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Bachelor’s Buttons, Balm of Gilead, Barley, Basil, Beans, Beetroot, Bloodroot, Cabbage, Cardamom, Celery, Cherry, Chestnut, Chickweed, Chili Peppers, Corn, Daffodil, Dates, Dogbane, Dragon’s Blood, Elm, Fig, Gardenia, Geranium, Ginseng, Grapes, Henbane, Hibiscus, High John, Honeydew, Hyacinth, Indian Paintbrush, Job’s Tears, Juniper, Kiwi, Lady’s Mantle, Lavender, Leek, Lemon, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena (Vervain), Lettuce, Lime, Liverwort, Lobelia, Lovage, Maidenhair, Mandrake, Mango, Maple, Marjoram, Marshmallow, Meadowsweet, Mint, Mistletoe, Moonwort, Mullein, Mushrooms, Myrrh, Myrtle, Nectarine, Nuts, Orange, Orchid, Orris Root, Pansy, Papaya, Parsley, Pea, Peach, Pear, Peppermint, Periwinkle, Plum, Quassia, Quince, Radish, Raspberry, Rose, Rosemary, Rue, Rye, Saffron, Southern Wood, Spearmint, Spiderwort, St. John’s Wort, Strawberry, Sugarcane, Tangerine, Thyme, Tomato, Turnip, Vanilla, Vetiver, Willow, Witches Grass (Dog Grass), Wood Betony, Wormwood (Absinthe), Yams, Yarrow, Yerba Mate

Associated Crystals:

  • Spirit work - Amethyst, Angelite, Apophyllite, Aqua Aura Quartz, Blue Lace Agate, Blue Quartz, Carnelian, Celestite, Charoite, Clear Quartz, Cuprite, Diamond, Fluorite, Iolite, Labradorite, Lepidolite, Malachite, Natrolite, Pearl, Ruby, Selenite, Sugilite, Sunstone, Tanzan Aura Quartz, Tanzanite, Tsavorite, Turquoise, Violet Flame Opal
  • Enchanting - *The crystal will depend on the type of enchantment you are performing*
  • Creativity - Alexandrite, Amazonite, Apatite, Aventurine, Carnelian, Citrine, Coral, Fire Agate, Fire Opal, Howlite, Opal, Rainforest Jasper, Sardonyx, Topaz, Ulexite
  • Love - Chrysocolla, Chrysoprase, Danburite, Diamond, Emerald, Garnet, Kunzite, Lapis Lazuli, Marble, Morganite, Peridot, Rhodochrosite, Rhodonite, Rose Quartz, Selenite, Seraphinite, Serpentine, Smithsonite, Sugilite, Topaz

Associated Colors:

  • Yellow
  • Red
  • Pink
  • Black
  • Grey
  • White

Magickal Ideas:

  • Write and play music as an offering to Orpheus and Lyra
  • Engage in other creative activities 
  • Enchant various objects
  • Carve the constellation into a wax cube or candle and let it melt
  • Burn corresponding incense
  • Give a physical representation of music (i.e. sheet music) as an offering
  • Perform spirit work
  • Give offerings to ancestors or anyone close to you that has passed on
  • Harness energy from the meteor shower itself
  • Use this energy to charge and enchant items
  • Summon the spirit of Orpheus and Lyra to aid in your spellwork for the duration of the meteor shower

Here are the dates of every major meteor shower in 2017

Quadrantids: Jan. 1-10

According to the American Meteor Society, these meteors have the potential to become one of the most spectacular showers of the year, though it can fall short because of fickle January weather conditions and its relatively brief six-hour period of peak activity. Its peak night occurs Jan. 3-4.

Lyrids:  Apr. 16-25

The AMS says Lyrid is a medium-strength shower that can be seen from the Northern Hemisphere at dawn, as well as from the Southern Hemisphere — albeit at a lower rate. Its peak night takes place on Apr. 21-22.

Eta Aquariids: Apr. 19-May 26

The Eta Aquariid shower is stronger if seen from the southern tropics. Its peak night occurs on May 6-7, according to Basic Astronomy.

Alpha Capricornids: Jul. 11-Aug. 10

This shower is not too strong but, unlike many, it can be seen on either side of the equator, according to the AMS. Its peak night takes place Jul. 26-27.

Delta Aquariids: Jul. 21-Aug. 23

The Delta Aquariid has a stronger presence in the southern tropics, but its meteoroids lack persistent trains and fireballs. Its peak night occurs Jul. 29-30, according to the AMS.

Perseids: Jul. 13-Aug. 26

Among stargazers in the U.S., Perseid is one of the most popular meteor showers, as it peaks on August nights and can be seen from the Northern Hemisphere. According to Basic Astronomy, its peak night takes place on Aug. 12-13.

Orionids: Oct. 4-Nov. 14

The Orionids create a medium-strength shower that sometimes reaches higher activity like Perseid. The shower’s peak night is Oct. 21-22, according to Basic Astronomy.

Southern Taurids: Sept. 7-Nov. 19

The falling Southern Taurids result in a long-lasting shower but one produces just more than five shower members per hour, a relatively low number. Its peak night takes place on Oct. 9-10, according to the AMS.

Northern Taurids: Oct. 19-Dec. 10.

Like the Southern Taurids, Northern Taurids occur over a span of two months. When these two showers become simultaneously active in late October, it creates increased fireball activity. Peak night occurs on Nov. 10-11, according to the AMS.

Leonids: Nov. 5-Nov. 30

Leonids are known for causing large meteor storms, with some of the most notable occurring in the mid-1800s, in 1996 and again in 2001. Its peak night occurs Nov. 17-18, Basic Astronomy reported.

Geminids: Dec. 4-Dec. 16

Germanids are usually the strongest meteor shower of the year, and it can also be seen from the Southern Hemisphere. According to Basic Astronomy, Germanids’ peak night takes place Dec. 13-14.

Ursids: Dec. 17-Dec. 23

The AMS underscores that this shower, which occurs just before Christmas, is strictly a Northern Hemisphere stargazing show. Its peak night takes place Dec. 22-23, according to Basic Astronomy.

Read more | follow @the-future-now
Lyrids 2016: Watch Lyrid meteor shower live online as it coincides with April full moon
The Lyrid meteor shower returns this week, peaking on Friday 22 April.

Thought you guys would be interested in this! It’s a great time to do any celestial/moon/space/planetary based magic over the next few days. 

The event will be livestreamed at 8pm EDT on the 23rd of April. Link to the livestream is in the article.

list of astronomically interesting things happening this year

April 21 and 22 - The Lyrids Meteor Shower is classed as an “average” shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at its peak. These meteors can produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. They usually peak on April 21 and 22, although some can be visible from April 16 to 25. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight.
May 5 and 6 - The Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower is capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour. Most of the activity is seen in the southern hemisphere but stargazers here may still see some when it peaks in the pre-dawn hours of May 5 and 6.
May 23 - we will be treated to a spectacle called Saturn at opposition. The ringed planet will be at its closest approach to earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to see and photograph Saturn and its moons. A medium-sized or larger telescope will allow you to see the planet’s rings and a few of its brightest moons.
August 12 and 13 - The Perseids Meteor Shower runs from July 17 to August 24 but peaks on August 12 and 13. This is one of the best meteor showers to observe and are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors. They can produce 50 to 100 meteors per hour in a dark sky.
September 28 - There will be a total lunar eclipse. This occurs when the earth comes between the sun and the moon. This means that the earth stops the sun’s rays reaching the moon. During this type of eclipse, the moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red colour. It will be visible just before 4am. It’s safe to look at the lunar eclipse with the naked eye and telescopes.
October 20 - The Orionids Meteor Shower tends to be active in the month of October, usually peaking around October 20. People can sometimes see about 20 meteors an hour.
October 28 - a rare three-planet conjunction will be visible. The planets Venus, Mars, and Jupiter will all form a tight one-degree triangle in the early morning sky. Look to the east just before sunrise for this spectacular event.
November 16 and 17 - The Leonid meteor shower peaks around these days. The shower is called Leonids because its radiant or the point in the sky where the meteors seem to emerge from, lies in the constellation Leo. There can be around 20 meteors an hour.
• December 13 to 23 - The month of December is good for meteor shower watchers, with the Geminids gracing the skies, peaking around December 13 and 14, and the Ursids that peak around December 22 and 23. The Geminids owes its name to the constellation Gemini while the Ursids get their name from the constellation Ursa Minor.

Making Sardines Fried Rice

After 13 days of sharing a bathroom with six others, a diet consisting of falafel breakfasts with chai, a platter of biryani or bukhari rice and curry lunches and a whole chicken freshly pulled off from the rotisserie, its juices seeping through the brown paper bag its put in, with chai, and dinners that are sometimes looked over, for we opted to pray in the courtyard of the المسجد الحرام where veiled ladies will throw at your lap small packages of dates of all known varieties - on some days they’re sticky and sweet, covered in sesame seeds and on some day, my personal favourite, those not yet fully ripe and has a pleasant bite with just enough sweetness as to not make you rush to the beige barrels of cold زمزم , walking 2km to and from the المسجد النبوي‎ in the heat, I can safely say that there is no place like home. 

Still, it is bittersweet to leave a place each with its own charms - Makkah with its bustling reverie that is truly a city that never sleeps. Madinah with its dream-like mosque with minarets that practically glow in daylight (not to mention the sliding domes and butterfly wing-like canopies that automatically expand during the scorching heat). 

This is nothing new, but it is a nod to something we ate during our trip. 6 days into our eating habits we realized that drinking gallons of chai, eating simple carbohydrates and an opulence of protein can be a bit boring. So we opened a can of sardines in oil, emptied the contents into a frying pan with a buckload of chili peppers, waited for it to reduce and ate it with plain, steamed hot rice. A few slices of cucumbers and tomatoes were served on the side. It was simplicity at its best with a nutritional value to boot and so, so satisfying.

Today, nursing a head cold with mugs of mint green tea, I decided I wanted to eat this fiery concoction to flush out my system. Use sardines canned in oil and not in sauce if you can, because that way you can modify the spices and flavors to your liking. Having said that, if you happen to have a preference for sardine canned in sauces, then by all means use them. Use as little or much peppers as your palate can handle. 

On a last note, tonight is the peak of the April Lyrids, if I’m not mistaken. Anyone watching the skies?


1-2 tins of sardine in chili oil, or in any sauce you like + 1-2 red hot chili peppers + ½ of a small tomato + 1 small onion + 2 cloves of garlic + a ½ inch piece of fresh ginger + 1 teaspoon lemon juice + 2 cups cooked white rice that’s been left overnight + 2 tablespoons soy sauce + 1 teaspoon sugar + any vegetables you like in fried rice - I recommend some peas, carrots and bell peppers + eggs + fresh parsley or spring onion for garnish ]

Chop any vegetables you’re planning to use into small, equal pieces. In a food processor, pulse the chili pepper, tomato, onion, garlic and ginger until you have a coarse paste. Set aside.

In a large nonstick pan over medium-high, heat a ½ tablespoon of the oil that comes with the sardine (if you’re using sardines canned in sauce, use a ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil) and saute the pulsed ingredients for 1-2 minutes.

Add in the tinned sardines and break it up with your spatula. Stir fry until the sardines pieces browns and become a bit toasty, about 5-10 minutes. Add in sugar and the vegetables you’re using. Stir fry for 1 minute until vegetables just soften before adding the cooked rice. Give it a stir and add in soy sauce and lemon juice. Toss and work the rice so that the grains are evenly coated in the sardine mixture.

Cook until rice is dry and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fry some eggs and serve rice with over-easy eggs, chopped parsley or spring onion, a splash of chili oil and a lemon wedge on the side.


Meteor in the Milky Way

Image Credit & Copyright: Marko Korosec

Explanation: Earth’s April showers include the Lyrid Meteor Shower, observed for more than 2,000 years when the planet makes its annual passage through the dust stream of long-period Comet Thatcher. A grain of that comet’s dust, moving 48 kilometers per second at an altitude of 100 kilometers or so, is swept up in this night sky view from the early hours of April 21. Flashing toward the southeastern horizon, the meteor’s brilliant streak crosses the central region of the rising Milky Way. Its trail points back toward the shower’s radiant in the constellation Lyra, high in the northern springtime sky and off the top of the frame. The yellowish hue of giant star Antares shines to the right of the Milky Way’s bulge. Higher still is bright planet Saturn, near the right edge. Seen from Istra, Croatia, the Lyrid meteor’s greenish glow reflects in the waters of the Adriatic Sea.