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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

 Full Pink Moon – April 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

New Moon April 7 7:24 am EDT
First Quarter Moon April 13 11:59 pm EDT
Full Moon April 22 1:24 am EDT
Last Quarter Moon April 29 11:29 pm EDT

April  Visible Lunar Highlights

April 25-Saturn 3° S. of Moon.

The Planets Visibility for April

Mercury

Evening Sky WNW

Mercury April 22nd  is at +0.9 magnitude and diameter 00°00'09" at phase 25.21%. Mercury reached greatest elongation - 20° from the sun on April 18th. For viewers in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the most favorable time to see Mercury in the evening sky. On the 22nd Mercury sets at 9:35 pm. Mercury will is in the constellation Aries the Ram. Below image of Mercury location at 8:20 pm on April 22nd. The Sun sets at 7:53 pm.

Mercury Transit.  May 9, 2016, Mercury will pass in front of the Sun. See: Sky & Telescope

Venus

Lost in the glare of the Sun

Venus will be lost from view until later in the year when it reappears in the evening sky.

Mars

Evening to Morning Sky SE

Mars, April 22nd is at -0.2 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'15" located in the constellation Ophiuchus rising at 10:43 pm. Mars is highest in the sky at around 3:30 am. On the 22nd Mars is 04°58'04.599" above the red giant star Antares. Mars and Saturn are 07°13'01" apart on the 22nd. Mars and Earth are growing nearer to each other and Mars details become more visible over the next few months. Even a small telescope can reveal surface markings on the planet.

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

JUPITER

 Evening sky E to Morning Sky W

Jupiter on the 22nd is visible after sunset in the eastern evening sky in the constellation Leo the Lion at -2.3 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'42".  Jupiter is the brightest planet in the eastern sky after sunset. Jupiter sets at 4:31 am. When you look at Jupiter your seeing the planet as it appeared 36 minutes ago due to the speed of light.

  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

Evening ESE to Morning Sky 

Saturn April 22nd is at +0.2 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.18". Saturn is in the constellation Ophiuchus rising midmonth at 11:11 pm in the southeast sky. Mars and Saturn are 07°13'01" apart on the 22nd.

Through a small telescope Saturn will reveal the famous rings of the planet. Rings currently are +26.2° tilt. See: Saturn's moons locations

URANUS

Lost in the glare of the Sun.

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

NEPTUNE 

Lost in the glare of the Sun.

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

Bright Asteroids

N/A

Dwarf Planets

Pluto

Morning Sky 

 Pluto April 22nd is in the morning sky rising at 1:29 am and is located amid the stars of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius. Pluto is at magnitude +14.2 and diameter 00°00'.00".

COMETS

Comet 252P

Comet 252P is at 6.7 magnitude April 22nd. The comet rises at 10:01 pm and is best observed after 12:30 am and highest in the sky around 5:30 am. The comet is currently located in the constellation Ophiuchus. For more on current Comets and locations see: Sky & Telescope also Seiichi Yoshida web site here.

 

METEOR SHOWERS

Lyrid Meteors

The Lyrid meteors peak on April 22/23. The glare of the Full Moon on the 22nd will hinder observations of fainter meteors. The Lyrids are fairly active from the 18th through the 26th. The Lyrid meteor shower  produces good rates for three nights centered on the maximum. At maximum, hourly rates can reach about 10-18 meteors per hour.  These meteors can produce fireballs. The constellation Lyra which the meteors are named for rises in the east around 9:00 pm and by 5:00 am is highest in the sky. RA: 18h 04m 00s Dec: +34°00'00".

The Lyrid meteors peak on April 22. The glare of the Full Moon on the 22nd will hinder observations of fainter meteors. The Lyrids are active from the 18th through the 25th, with a pronounced maximum on the 22nd

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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