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The April Night Sky

The sky is not a painting, it's a movie. Stars pulse, flare, some explode as supernova, asteroids whiz by the earth, new comets appear in the sky, Aurora sets the northern skies ablaze and meteors streak through Earth's atmosphere.

 Astronomy Picture of the Day

See below Hubble site Tonight's Sky, highlights of this months night sky movie with narration below. Click on photo below.

The Full Moon for April

The Full Pink Moon. This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn. Courtesy: Farmers Almanac.

Lunar Phase

First Quarter Moon April 3 2:39 pm EDT
Full Moon April 11 2:08 am EDT
Last Quarter Moon April 19 5:57 am EDT
New Moon April 26 8:16 am EDT

The Planets Visibility for April

Mercury

Evening Sky Lost in Suns Glare

 Mercury is lost in the Suns glare by the middle of the month.

Venus

Morning Sky E

Venus April 15th is very low in the eastern horizon rising at 5:01 am. just before sunrise. Venus is at -4.5 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'49" and Phase (%): 13.03. Venus is in Pisces.

Mars

Evening Sky W

Mars April 15th is at +1.5 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'04" located in the constellation Aries as a reddish orange star visible after sunset in the west. Mars sets at 10:18 pm. Mars through a telescope appears as a fuzzy object due to its distance from Earth. 

To see which part of Mars surface is visible at any time, check out the Mars Profiler at Sky & Telescope Magazine's web page.

JUPITER

Evening Sky E

Jupiter April 15th is at -2.5 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'44" located in the constellation Virgo. Jupiter rises east southeast. at 6:50 pm. Jupiter reaches opposition on April 7th.

A small telescope will easily reveal four of Jupiter's largest and brightest moons. Check out Sky & Telescope's Jupiter Moons Utility for other configurations. Sky and Telescope Red Spot Calculator 

SATURN

Morning Sky ESE 

Saturn April 15th is at +0.4 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'17" located in the constellation Sagittarius. Saturn rises at 12:35 am. Saturn's ring tilt is +26.4. Saturn is best viewed when higher in the eastern sky after 4:00 am till dawn.

See: Saturn's moons locations 

URANUS

Lost in Suns Glare

 A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a faint green-gray disk. See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

NEPTUNE 

Morning ESE Sky

Neptune April 15th is low in the east southeast sky rising at 5:54 am and at magnitude 7.9 with a diameter 00°00'.02".

See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

Dwarf Planets

4 Vesta on April 15th it is at magnitude 7.8 located in the constellation Gemini and is an Angular separation: 02°49'50.938"below the star Pollux in Gemini. 4Vesta sets at 3:03 am.

 1 Ceres on evening of April 15th is at 9.0 magnitude in the constellation Aries setting at 10:22 pm. 1Ceres is located 03°17'20" below and left of Mars.

Pluto

Evening Sky 

Pluto is located amid the stars of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius. Pluto is at magnitude +14.3 and diameter 00°00'.00" rising at 2:07 am in the east southeast.

COMETS BRIGHTER THAN 8TH MAGNITUDE

41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak

41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak Magnitude 6.0 and C/2015 V2 (Johnson) Magnitude 9.2 Evening Object

Below locations for 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak and C/2015 V2 (Johnson) on evening of April 15th at 10:00 pm. Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak is in Draco at RA: 17h 05m 33s Dec: +55°32'11". Comet C/2015 V2 (Johnson) is in Hercules at RA: 16h 19m 54s Dec: +46°57'06".

  For more on current Comets and locations see: Sky & Telescope also Seiichi Yoshida web site here.

METEOR SHOWERS

The annual Lyrid meteor shower peaks on the night of April 22. The Moon will not interfere with observing meteors. interference from its light. Though radiant of meteors apparent direction radiates from constellation Lyra. With a good site away from lights you can expect to see about 18 meteors per hour.

METEOR SHOWERS

See: Listen to Meteors , American Meteor Society, Meteors Online also NASA All Sky Network

Some local links below to Heavens Above satellite information website.

Satellites Visible from York

Satellites visible from Hanover

Satellites visible from Gettysburg

Satellites visible from Lancaster

Satellites visible from Baltimore

Satellites visible from Harrisburg

Also see: Spaceflight NASA

The Sun

Real time solar wind dials are linked live to the ACE Spacecraft.

 If the dial on the left (Magnetic Field) has dipped below zero, the speed is high and the dial dynamic pressure is in the yellow/red, be alert for Aurora. Anytime the gauges are in the Red and the dial on the left, the Magnetic Field BZ has dipped to the yellow-red... Aurora will be occurring in our area. See link to solar wind gauge here: REAL TIME SOLAR WIND

See explanation of  solar wind dials below by clicking on photo of dials

   

Use your hand to find degrees

NASA Night Sky Network Planner

Free download. AstroPlanner  

Download a free starmap at: Skymaps

Make your own starmap at: Star Finder

Download a free Planetarium for your computer at: Stellarium or Hallo Northern Sky Stellarium has many extra features.

Your Sky - Fourmilab

AstroViewer
Your night sky map on the internet

Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart Register to use.

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