What's to see in the night sky in April?

April, 2001

This chart represents the sky as it looks at around 10 PM local time. Some adjustment should be made for longitude, but it shouldn't be much. Right click on the chart, select "Save As" and save the image. You can then print this chart from a photo application, like Print Shop Pro, hold it in front of you with the direction you are facing at the bottom. Then, raise it above your head and you should be able to find your way around from there.

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ATTENTION! The All Arizona Messier Marathon will be held Saturday, April 13th at a site south of Arizona City. Contact me for details and directions. We'd love to see you there!

Moon phases

New-4/12_____First Quarter-4/20____Full-4/26____Last Quarter-4/4

Planets

Mercury is lost in the Sun's glare early in the month, but rises quickly after sunset. By the end of April, it will close the gap with Venus and make a nice grouping with Venus, Mars, Saturn and the Pleiades! Watch for it!
Venus is the brightest planet in the evening sky. Visible just after sunset in the west, it will slowly rise during the month.
Mars is far away from us during April, but is still visible with the unaided eye all month. (Barely...)
Jupiter seems almost still, but actually drifts slowly to the east during the month.
Saturn starts the month between the bull's horns in the Hyades and has a rendevouz with the Moon on the 16th around noon MST.

Meteor showers
Lyrids peak on 4/21 at ~15/hr.

There are three comets visible in the east before sunrise this month, one of which could be challenging at best. Ikeya-Zhang, Snyder-Murakami and Utsunomia. Contact me for details.

Deep Sky Objects (DSO's)
Messier Objects M81 & 82 are still there, M108-an edge on galaxy and M97-the Owl (planetary) Nebula are close together in Ursa Major, M109-another galaxy in Ursa Major. M40 is also in Ursa Major, but it's just a double star system of no real significance. Some may detect nebulosity near it, but I haven't seen it. M105, M95 and M96 are all within 1.5 of each other in Leo, (M96 held a supernova in 1998, just in time for the Grand Canyon Star Party) plus, M65 and M66 are also in the same field of view of each other. All the galaxies need a telescope to be seen.
Named DSO's There's just a ton of galaxies in the region. The Leo group, the beginings of the Virgo/Coma cluster etc.

Here's the link to SEDS as promised.

January's page February's page March's's page April's page May's page June's page
July's page August's page September's page October's page November's page December's page

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Page URL: http://www.stargazing.net/Astroman/Apr.html

Copyright 1999, Steve Dodder
Webmaster: Steve Dodder
Revised: 9/21/00