| Observatory |
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...
The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal astro-experiences to look forward to.
Fri. April 2 - For those with a telescope, an exciting event will be worth going after tonight. Jupiter’s innermost moon Io will pass very, very close to the star 44 Capricorni. Closest approach will be at 4.20am our time. Just look for Jupiter low in the south eastern pre-dawn sky. The star will be brighter than Jupiter’s moons and should stand out very close to one of them, which will be Io.
Sun. April 4 - This is Last Quarter Moon night. In the wee hours before dawn the neatly divided sphere will rise deep in the southern sky.
Mon. April 5 - If you are up before dawn this morning and have a low eastern horizon, it would be worth looking out for a nice planetary/lunar alignment. Left to right Jupiter, Saturn and the waning crescent Moon will rise together just as the sky begins to brighten.
Tues. April 6 - The thinning crescent Moon has now moved just below Saturn in the pre-dawn sky. Jupiter looks on from just to the left.
Mon. April 12 - This is New Moon night, the centre of the week that astronomy enthusiasts look forward to each month. Luna is tucked away in the Sun’s vicinity providing a dark night sky for deep sky imaging, as well as sweeping up stars and treasures with binoculars.
Thurs. April 15 - There will be an interesting grouping in the western sky at nightfall tonight. The thin crescent Moon will form a beautiful pattern with Aldebaran and the Hyades open star cluster as they drop toward the horizon.
Fri. April 16 - Ever the entertainer, Luna, in waxing crescent phase, is now positioned between the ‘horn’ stars of Taurus the bull high in the western sky as night begins to darken.
Sat. April 17 - As it continues to slowly fade after its command performance last fall, Mars, like Rodney Dangerfield, can claim “I don’t get no respect”. After posing between the horn stars of Taurus last evening, Luna’s growing crescent has skipped right over the red planet on her way toward the constellation Gemini.
Mon. April 19 - Tonight the almost first quarter Moon has climbed higher into the spring sky to form a line with Gemini’s twin stars Pollux and Castor to her right.
Tues. April 20 - This is First Quarter Moon night celebrating Spring, and just to make it special Luna is spending it in the company of Messier 44 the Beehive Cluster. Binoculars will show the hive of faint stars just to her lower right.
Thurs. April 22 - For lovers of meteor showers, this year's Lyrids will peak in the early hours this morning. A waxing gibbous Moon will offer some resistance to seeing fainter members until it sets around 3am. The radiant in Lyra will rise in the northeastern sky late Wednesday evening. As well as 'shooting stars' the Lyrids can surprise with the odd fireball.
Sun. April 25 - A bit bored with the outer gas giants in the pre-dawn hours, the innermost planet Mercury has crossed into the evening sky and it will appear about two Moon widths from brilliant Venus. To view the pair you will need a very low western horizon and use binoculars, scanning just above where the Sun set a short time before.
Mon. April 26 - A Full Moon rising over eastern mountains is always an inspiring sight. What will make tonight’s event even more special is the fact that Luna will be only 12 hours from its perigee point, the closest part of its orbit to the Earth. This could be regarded as a ‘Super Moon’, about 13% larger than its smallest apogee appearance.
Thurs. April 29 - Coursing lower in the sky, the waning gibbous Moon will be less than the width of three fingers to the upper left of the red super giant star Antares low in the southern sky before dawn begins. alpha Scorpii is one of the largest stars visible to the naked eye, and if it replaced our Sun its outer surface would extend to between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.