NIGHT SKY EVENTS
Held at arm’s length, the width of your fist is 100, the width of your little finger is 10, and the width of a full Moon is 20. As shown in the drawing, the width of your three middle fingers is 5 0 and the width of your outstretched hand from the tip of your little finger to the tip of your thumb is 200
The night sky for any location can be found on John Walker’s website Your Sky
April’s Night Sky for Central Texas.
For a star map of for Central Texas, see the website of Paul the Star Gazer.
Following is a description of the night sky as seen from Central Texas. This is provided by Paul Derrick.
April 2-3 Mon. and Tue. evenings: Venus grazes the beautiful Pleiades star cluster (AKA the Seven Sisters) and should create a beautiful sight with naked eyes and binoculars.
April 3 Tue. evening: The bright waxing gibbous Moon is 100 below Mars high in the SE.
April 6 Fri.: The full Moon, called the Egg Moon, Grass Moon, and Easter Moon, is immediately to the right of Spica (nearest) and Saturn, although the Moon’s glare will make seeing them challenging.
April 13 Fri.: Friday the 13th, considered unlucky by the superstitious, comes around for the second of three 2012 occurrences, the last coming in July.
April 11–16 Wed.-Mon. evenings: Venus passes within 10 0 to the right of the star Aldebaran and the V-shaped Hyades star cluster.
April 13 Fri. morning: The Moon is at 3rd quarter.
April 15 Sun.: Mars, having moved back to within 4 0 of Regulus, resumes direct (eastward) motion as seen against the background stars, and again begins moving away from the star.
April 15 Sun. all night: Saturn is at opposition – rising in the east at sunset and setting in the W at sunrise – and is at its nearest, brightest, and largest-appearing for the year.
April 18 Wed. morning: Mercury is at greatest elongation 270W of the rising Sun; the crescent Moon is 70 above the tiny planet, and the next morning an even thinner crescent Moon is one fist-width to the left, very low in the E as dawn breaks; binoculars will help.
April 21 Sat.: The Moon is new.
April 22 Sun. morning: Lyrid meteor shower peaks with no Moon interference this year.
April 22 Sun. early evening: The thin crescent Moon is 40 above Jupiter near the WNW horizon at dusk.
April 23 Mon. early evening: The crescent Moon is in Taurus with the Pleiades star cluster 6? to its lower right and the star Aldebaran 80 to its upper left – all near the WNW horizon as the evening sky darkens.
April 24 Tue. early evening: Tonight the crescent Moon is now 70 above Aldebaran with Venus 60 to the Moon’s upper right.
April 29 Sun. evening: The Moon is at 1st quarter.
April 30 Mon. evening: “Evening star” Venus is at its brightest magnitude -4.5; other than fleeting events like fireball meteors, only the Sun and Moon outshine Venus.
April 30 Mon. evening: Reddish Mars (left), the Moon (below), and the star Regulus (upper right) form a triangle high in the SSW.
Evenings: Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Saturn
Mornings: Mercury, Saturn
- Mercury, low in the E all month, is at its best during mid-month.
- Venus, the dominating “evening star” in the W, still sets nearly four hours after the Sun.
- * Mars is up most of the night, setting just before dawn.
- * Jupiter, low the W in the early evening, starts getting lost in the setting Sun by month’s end.
- * Saturn, up by 9 p.m., is in the SW by morning.
Compiled by Paul Derrick.
Primary sources: Guy Ottewell’s annual Astronomical Calendar and Software Bisque’s TheSky.