Adrian Dening's Stars Over Somerset

    Monday 12th to Sunday 18th April 2021

    Monday 12th April sees the 60th anniversary of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man in space. He nearly didn't make the flight as the day before, officials realised he was 13Kg over the maximum weight limit and engineers spent all night stripping bits off his Vostok-1 spacecraft to allow for it!

    He launched at 9.07am on 12th April 1961 and spent a total of 108 minutes orbiting the Earth. He never risked flying in space again as Russian officials decided that his celebrity status made him too valuable.

    On the astronomy front...........

    Just as it's getting dark on Thursday 15th, look towards the west and see if you can spot the 12% lit waxing crescent Moon that will be in the constellation of Taurus. To the left of the Moon will be the bright star Aldebaran and to the right, the Pleiades open cluster of stars.

    Looking further south, you will also be able to see Orion. Orion is a winter constellation and it isn't visible during the summer months, so this could be one of the last chances to aim your telescope at the Great Orion Nebula M42 in Orion's sword. The Moon won't be creating much light pollution at this stage, so the nebula will be easier to observe.


    Screenshots courtesy of Stellarium

    Copyright Adrian Dening and Radio Ninesprings 2021

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