This Week’s Sky at a Look, March 29 – April 6

March 29, 2019 - Comment

  Mars passes the Pleiades. . . . . .after which strikes nearer to Aldebaran. The blue 10° scale is concerning the measurement of your fist at arm’s size. Friday, March 29 • Within the western sky after nightfall, orange Mars is passing simply three° from the fragile, blue-white Pleiades cluster this night by means


Mars and the Pleiades, March 29, 2019

Mars passes the Pleiades. . .

Aldebaran, Mars, Pleiades April 5, 2019

. . .after which strikes nearer to Aldebaran. The blue 10° scale is concerning the measurement of your fist at arm’s size.

Friday, March 29

• Within the western sky after nightfall, orange Mars is passing simply three° from the fragile, blue-white Pleiades cluster this night by means of Sunday night.

Saturday, March 30

• Castor and Pollux shine collectively very excessive within the south after darkish, very far higher left of Mars and Aldebaran. Pollux is barely the brighter of those Gemini “twins.”

Draw a line from Castor by means of Pollux, observe it farther decrease left by a giant 26° (about 2½ fist-widths at arm’s size), and also you’re on the dim head of Hydra, the Sea Serpent. In a darkish sky it is a refined however distinctive star grouping, concerning the measurement of your thumb at arm’s size. Binoculars present it simply by means of gentle air pollution.

Proceed the road farther by a fist and a half and also you hit Alphard, Hydra’s 2nd-magnitude orange coronary heart.

One other technique to discover the top of Hydra: It is nearly halfway from Procyon to Regulus.

Sunday, March 31

• Excessive above the Huge Dipper late these evenings, practically crossing the zenith, are three pairs of dim naked-eye stars, all third or 4th magnitude, marking the Nice Bear’s ft. They’re also referred to as the Three Leaps of the Gazelle, from early Arab lore. They kind a protracted line roughly halfway between the bowl of the Huge Dipper and the Sickle of Leo; see the night constellation chart within the heart of the April Sky & Telescope.

In line with Arab lore, the gazelle was ingesting at a pond — the massive, dim Coma Berenices star cluster — and bounded away when startled by a flick of Leo’s close by tail, Denebola. Leo, nonetheless, appears fairly unaware, dealing with the opposite approach.

• A daybreak problem: About 30 minutes earlier than dawn Monday morning, scan simply above the east-southeast horizon for the skinny crescent Moon to the fitting of Venus. Deliver binoculars when you’ve got them.

Monday, April 1

• The massive, shiny Winter Hexagon continues to be in view simply after darkish, filling the sky to the southwest and west. Begin with sensible Sirius within the southwest, the Hexagon’s decrease left nook. Excessive above Sirius is Procyon. From there look even greater for Pollux and Castor, rightward from Castor to Menkalinan and shiny Capella, decrease left from there to Aldebaran, decrease left to Rigel on the backside of Orion, and again to Sirius.

Tuesday, April 2

• Vibrant Capella shines excessive within the northwest after nightfall. Its pale-yellow colour matches that of the Solar, that means they’re each about the identical temperature. However in any other case Capella may be very totally different. It consists of two yellow big stars, bigger and brighter than the Solar, orbiting one another each 104 days.

Furthermore, for telescope customers, it is accompanied by a distant, tight pair of crimson dwarfs: Capella H and L, magnitudes 10 and 13. Article and finder charts.

Wednesday, April three

• On this dark-of-the-Moon time, discover springtime galaxies in your small scope utilizing a sky atlas and the Deep-Sky Wonders article within the April Sky & Telescope, web page 54. And for a lot more durable dark-sky challenges, strive for giant, dim galactic cirrus clouds utilizing the Going Deep article and charts on web page 57.

Thursday, April four

• This night, you may discover that Mars is true on the road between Aldebaran and the Pleiades.

Friday, April 5

• Shortly after the tip of twilight right now of yr, Arcturus, the intense Spring Star climbing within the east, stands simply as excessive as Sirius, the brighter Winter Star descending within the southwest (for viewers at mid-northern latitudes).

These are the 2 brightest stars within the sky on the time. However Capella is a really shut runner-up to Arcturus! Spot it excessive within the northwest.

• New Moon (actual at three:50 a.m. on this date EDT).

Saturday, April 6

• The asteroid 2 Pallas is at opposition and detectable in good binoculars at magnitude 7.9, the identical brightness as Neptune. It is solely four° from Arcturus tonight, on its technique to passing very shut by Eta Bootis on the night of April 10th.

And, smaller 7 Iris can also be about at opposition. It is farther south in Corvus and solely magnitude 9.four. See Bob King’s Pop In on Pallas and Iris Tonight, with finder charts.


Wish to change into a greater astronomer? Be taught your approach across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding the whole lot fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.

That is an outside nature passion. For an easy-to-use constellation information protecting the entire night sky, use the massive month-to-month map within the heart of every challenge 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 lots of of telescopic galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae amongst them. Proven above is the Jumbo Version for simpler studying within the evening. Pattern chart.

When you get a telescope, to place it to good use you may want an in depth, large-scale sky atlas (set of charts). The fundamental commonplace 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 understand your approach round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) and Uranometria (stars to magnitude 9.75). And browse the way to use sky charts with a telescope.

You will additionally desire a good deep-sky guidebook, similar to 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 substitute charts? Not for novices, I do not suppose, and never on mounts and tripods which can be 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 talents to search out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This data comes solely by spending time underneath the celebs with star maps in hand.”

Mercury may be very deep within the glare of dawn, right down to the decrease left of Venus.

Venus (magnitude –three.9) rises above the east-southeast horizon in early daybreak. It is nonetheless fairly low by the point daybreak grows shiny.

Mars (magnitude +1.5, in Taurus) glows within the west after nightfall. It is the orange-red spark close to the Pleiades, decrease left of brighter orange Aldebaran. Mars this season is about as removed from us because it ever will get; in a telescope it is a tiny blob four.6 arcseconds throughout.

Jupiter on March 27, 2019

On the morning of March 27th, Christopher Go within the Philippines imaged Jupiter with the Nice Crimson Spot rotating away across the previous (proper) limb. South right here is up. The North Equatorial Belt stays fairly darkish, and right here it is edged with massive scallops and blue festoons.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.three, within the ft of Ophiuchus) rises within the southeast round 1 a.m. daylight-saving time. It is excessive within the south simply as daybreak begins to brighten, one of the best time to watch it telescopically. The farther south you might be, the upper it is going to be.

Saturn (magnitude +zero.6, in Sagittarius) glows in early daybreak, to the left or decrease left of Jupiter by about 26°.

Uranus and Neptune are out of sight behind the glare of the Solar.


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 or GMT) minus four hours.


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


“I have no idea what I could seem to the world; however to myself I appear to have been solely like a boy taking part in on the seashore, and diverting myself in at times discovering a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than peculiar, while the nice ocean of reality lay all undiscovered earlier than me.”
— Isaac Newton, 1642–1727
(From the Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton, David Brewster, 1855)



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