This Week’s Sky at a Look, April 19 – 27

April 19, 2019 - Comment

The waning gibbous Moon in early daybreak passes over Antares and pairs with Jupiter. . . . . .after which it passes over the Sagittarius Teapot and pairs with Saturn. (For readability, the Moon in these scenes is at all times proven bigger than its precise obvious dimension. It would not actually butt up towards

Moon, Jupiter, Antares April 22-23, 2019

The waning gibbous Moon in early daybreak passes over Antares and pairs with Jupiter. . .

Moon and Saturn, April 24-25, 2019

. . .after which it passes over the Sagittarius Teapot and pairs with Saturn. (For readability, the Moon in these scenes is at all times proven bigger than its precise obvious dimension. It would not actually butt up towards Jupiter or occult it.)

Friday, April 19

• Full Moon (actual at 7:12 a.m. Japanese Daylight Time). This night search for Spica higher proper of the Moon by a couple of fist and a half at arm’s size, and brighter Arcturus about twice that far to the Moon’s higher left.

Saturday, April 20

• About an hour after darkish, the Pointer stars forming the top of the Large Dipper’s bowl level straight down towards Polaris. Face north and look method up. Polaris is about three fists at arm’s size from the Pointers.

Sunday, April 21

• Arcturus shines brightly within the east early these evenings. The Large Dipper, very excessive within the northeast, factors its curving deal with to the decrease proper roughly towards it.

Arcturus varieties the sharp finish of an extended, slender kite asterism fashioned by the brightest stars of Bootes, the Cowherd. The kite is presently mendacity on its facet to Arcturus’s left. The pinnacle of the kite, on the far left, is bent barely upward. The kite is 23° lengthy, about two fists at arm’s size. Look quickly after darkish earlier than the Moon rises.

Monday, April 22

• The Lyrid meteor bathe, often weak to start with, will likely be largely spoiled by vivid moonlight throughout the bathe’s early-morning energetic hours tonight and tomorrow night time.

• Nonetheless, if you’re exterior within the hours earlier than daybreak, you will discover Jupiter only a diploma or two from the waning gibbous Moon (as seen from the longitudes of the Americas). Jupiter is presently 1,800 occasions farther than the Moon — which it why it seems to be like only a dot although it is 40 occasions bigger in diameter.

Tuesday, April 23

• Proper after darkish, the Sickle of Leo stands vertical excessive within the south. Its backside star is Regulus, the brightest of Leo. Leo himself is strolling horizontally westward. The Sickle varieties his entrance leg, chest, mane, and a part of his head. Denebola, about two and a half fists left of Regulus, is his tail-tip.

• As daybreak begins to brighten on Wednesday morning, the waning gibbous Moon shines virtually halfway between Jupiter to its proper and Saturn to its left.

Wednesday, April 24

• As daybreak begins on Thursday morning, the waning Moon poses with Saturn.

Thursday, April 25

• Proper after darkish, discover Procyon excessive over vivid Sirius within the southwest. Look higher left of Procyon by 15° (a couple of fist and a half at arm’s size) for the dim head of Hydra, the large Sea Serpent. His head is a gaggle of Third- and 4th- magnitude stars concerning the dimension of your thumb at arm’s size.

A few fist and a half decrease left of Hydra’s head shines Alphard, his 2nd-magnitude, orange coronary heart. The remainder of Hydra zigzags (faintly) from Alphard all the way in which over and down virtually to the southeast horizon.

• With the Moon now gone from the night sky, discover the Leo Triplet and extra of the most effective springtime galaxies together with your sky atlas and the Deep-Sky Wonders column within the April Sky & Telescope, web page 54.

Friday, April 26

• Final-quarter Moon (actual at 6:18 p.m. EDT). The Moon rises tonight round three a.m. daylight-saving time, proper within the heart of the dim, boat-shape sample of Capricornus. Excessive above it’s Altair. The brightest “stars” far to the Moon’s proper or higher proper are Saturn, then Jupiter.

Saturday, April 27

• Because the final of twilight fades out, the dim Little Dipper extends to the appropriate from Polaris. Excessive above the Little Dipper’s bowl (marked by Kochab, Polaris’s equal in brightness), you will discover the bowl of the Large Dipper.


Need to grow to be a greater astronomer? Be taught your method across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding all the things fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.

That is an outside nature pastime. For an easy-to-use constellation information overlaying the entire night sky, use the massive month-to-month map within the heart of every subject of Sky & Telescope, the important information to astronomy.

Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas cover

The Pocket Sky Atlas plots 30,796 stars to magnitude 7.6, and tons of of telescopic galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae amongst them. Proven above is the Jumbo Version for simpler studying within the night time. Pattern chart.

When you get a telescope, to place it to good use you will want an in depth, large-scale sky atlas (set of charts). The fundamental customary is the Pocket Sky Atlas (in both the unique or Jumbo Version), which exhibits stars to magnitude 7.6.

Subsequent up is the bigger and deeper Sky Atlas, plotting stars to magnitude eight.5; practically 3 times as many. The following up, as soon as you realize your method round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) and Uranometria (stars to magnitude 9.75). And skim learn how to use sky charts with a telescope.

You may additionally desire a good deep-sky guidebook, resembling Sue French’s Deep-Sky Wonders assortment (which incorporates its personal charts), Sky Atlas Companion by Robust and Sinnott, or the larger Evening Sky Observer’s Information by Kepple and Sanner.

Can a computerized telescope exchange charts? Not for newbies, I do not assume, and never on mounts and tripods which are lower than top-quality mechanically (that means heavy and costly). And as Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer say of their Yard Astronomer’s Information, “A full appreciation of the universe can not come with out creating the abilities to search out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This data comes solely by spending time beneath the celebs with star maps in hand.”

Jupiter with Great Red Spot, April 15, 2019

Jupiter’s Nice Purple Spot was on the planet’s central meridian (System II longitude 309°) when Christopher Go took this picture on April 15th. South is up. “The world surrounding the Nice Purple Spot may be very chaotic,” he writes. Left of (previous) the GRS, the south fringe of the South Equatorial Belt may be very darkish. On the next facet of the GRS, this characteristic is lacking.
As I often do right here, I’ve brightened Go’s picture to higher simulate Jupiter’s precise look. To imitate Jupiter’s look in newbie scopes of varied sizes (in very regular seeing), view this picture from the far facet of the room whereas squinting your eyes to numerous levels. Research the view as rigorously as you’ll be able to; take your time. What are the very most interesting particulars you assume you detect that show to be actual if you come again shut?

The Venus-Mercury problem will get more durable. Venus (magnitude –three.9) and far fainter Mercury (about magnitude are each very low within the brightening daybreak. Decide up Venus above the due-east horizon about 20 minutes earlier than dawn. Then use binoculars or a wide-field telescope to search for little Mercury 5° or 6° to its decrease left. Good luck.

Mars (magnitude +1.6, in Taurus) nonetheless glows within the west after nightfall. Spot it about 20° to the appropriate of brighter, Mars-colored Betelgeuse – the topmost vivid star of Orion on its method down.

Kind of beneath Mars is Aldebaran, equally orange. Above Mars, and matching it in brightness, is white Beta Tauri (Elnath). Mars crosses the road between these two stars on April 26th.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.four, on the jap foot of Ophiuchus) rises within the southeast round midnight daylight-saving time. It shines pretty excessive within the south earlier than the start of daybreak, in order that’s the most effective time to watch it telescopically.

Saturn (magnitude +zero.6, in Sagittarius) is the “star” 26° to Jupiter’s left or decrease left earlier than daybreak.

Uranus is hidden in its conjunction with the Solar.

Neptune is out of sight within the glow of dawn.


All descriptions that relate to your horizon — together with the phrases up, down, proper, and left — are written for the world’s mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions that additionally rely on longitude (primarily Moon positions) are for North America.

Japanese Daylight Time (EDT) is Common Time (UT, UTC, or GMT) minus four hours.


Audio sky tour. Out beneath the night sky together with your earbuds in place, take heed to Kelly Beatty’s month-to-month podcast tour of the heavens above. It is free.


“I appear to have been solely like a boy enjoying on the seashore, and diverting myself in every now and then discovering a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than bizarre, while the nice ocean of fact lay all undiscovered earlier than me.”
— Isaac Newton, 1642–1727



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