April is derived from the word Aprilis, which means aperture or opening. This is when the buds start to open as spring takes hold of this part of the northern hemisphere and begins to transform our landscape.

The nights are already getting shorter, and the days are getting longer and warmer, which makes us want to get outside and enjoy spring.

We can continue our experience of this new spring after our long and cold winter by getting outside after sunset to view and experience more of the celestial wonders that are always above us, whether or not we are aware of them.

I did this on March 19 and 20 by watching the much-anticipated super moon rise out of the ocean. This was the biggest and closest full moon in 18 years. It was very close to perigee, at only a little more than 221,000 miles from Earth. By contrast, our moon is about 252,000 miles away at apogee. The moon is 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter at perigee than at apogee.

The enormous, pale reddish moon emerged out of the dark ocean right on schedule. Immediately after clearing the horizon, which took only two minutes, it partially went back into hiding as a local cloud obscured the top half, turning it into a giant, glowing semicircular boat bobbing on the watery horizon. Then we were treated to a second moonrise as it finally rose above the clouds and gained height and strength and continued its colorful metamorphosis through orange and yellow.

The drama of this rare event was appreciated by many knowledgeable people who were witnessing and photographing this memorable event on a beautiful beach in Long Branch, N.J., just south of New York City. I went back about an hour later to bask in the light of this brilliant, full Lenten moon shedding its reflected light on the cold ocean in a poetic shimmer that transformed the entire scene.

If you missed this March miracle, you will have another chance in April. Though not quite as large and bright, the full moon still will be closer than usual to its perigee on April 17.

I was able to continue my experience and celebration of the night sky by looking at Saturn, the close moon and the Great Orion Nebula through a telescope. Our own sun was born in a similar nebula 4.6 billion years ago as the dust hit a critical mass and began swirling and condensing to ignite the fusion process that now sustains all life on earth and will continue to do so for another 5 billion years as long as we don’t interfere.

At about 200 power through the telescope, it was just like being only 1,000 miles above the lunar surface in a spaceship and enjoying its alien landscape in detail. But it was much safer, and I didn’t even have to go through the expense and training to get into space. All of us are already astronauts on our spaceship Earth and are able to enjoy all the wonders of the places that we are constantly traveling through as we become more aware of them and how they can affect our lives and attitudes once we learn more about our invisible connections to them.

Saturn is the star of our night sky in April. The ringed planet will reach opposition on April 4. That means it is opposite the sun in the sky, which is the best time to see the planet because it is also closest to Earth and biggest and brightest in the sky at that time. Saturn is at its brightest now in three years because its rings are tilted a little farther open at about 8 degrees.

The remaining four of the brightest planets are all in the morning sky now. Venus is the highest of the group, rising about one hour before sunrise. The other three planets are all extremely low and faint, and you will need binoculars to see them. Mars and Mercury will be less than one degree apart just 15 minutes before sunrise on the morning of April 19. By the morning of April 29, half an hour before sunrise, Mars and Jupiter will be about one degree apart, and Mercury will be halfway to Venus up and to the right.

Look for a thin waning crescent moon to the left of Venus low in the east-southeastern sky a half hour before sunrise on April 1. That will be repeated on April 30, but this time a trio of other planets will have joined solitary Venus in the morning sky.

April 1: On this day in 1997, Comet Hale-Bopp made its closest approach to the sun. That was a once-in-a-lifetime comet that was easily visible with the naked eye for many months. Its brilliant bluish white gas and dust tails stretched across nearly a quarter of the sky, giving everyone a sense of wonder and a better appreciation of our cosmic origins.

April 2: The first photograph of the sun was taken on this day in 1845.

April 3: New moon is at 10:32 a.m.

April 4: Saturn is at opposition, rising at sunset and not setting until sunrise.

April 7: The waxing crescent moon can be seen between the famous Pleiades and Hyades star clusters in Taurus this evening. The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory was deployed on this day in 1991. It made many shocking discoveries about the extreme high energy universe.

April 11: First quarter moon is at 8:05 a.m.

April 15: Wilbur Wright was born on this day in 1867. It was quite a leap of human potential to go from the first powered airplane all the way to the moon in just 66 years.

April 17: Full moon is at 10:44 p.m. That is also known as the Grass, Egg, Pink or Planting Moon.

April 22: The Lyrid meteor shower peaks tonight. This is one of the oldest observed meteor showers, first seen in 687 BC. They usually average only 10 to 20 per hour. They are caused by Comet Thatcher. They are better every 12 years because they are affected by Jupiter, which has a 12-year orbit around the sun. The moon will be only five days past full, but it still will be worth watching to see if they might turn out better than expected.

April 23: Max Planck was born on this day in 1858. He determined the Planck length and Planck time, proving that the entire universe is granular because there is a smallest length and shortest amount of time that can exist in this universe.

April 24: Last quarter moon is at 10:47 p.m.

April 25: The Hubble Space telescope was deployed on this day in 1990. This was one of the most cost effective missions ever launched. Its many amazing discoveries continue to open our eyes wider to the incredible universe in which we all live.

Bernie Reim of Wells is co-director of the Astronomical Society of Northern New England.