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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...

The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal
astro-experiences to look forward to.

Tues. April 2 – Before dawn this morning brilliant Venus will rise over the eastern mountains shortly before the appearance of the waning crescent Moon. About the width of three fingers will separate them.

Tues. April 2 – An interesting telescope challenge will present itself in the pre-dawn sky. The innermost planet Mercury will appear less than a moon’s width from the outer ice giant Neptune low in the east before sunrise. Mercury will be the easiest to spot at mag. .8. Faint Neptune will be seen to its south.

Fri. April 5 – This is New Moon night… our lunar companion will stay completely out of the night sky marking the heart of the current dark sky period. A great time to take advantage of warmer dark skies to explore the deep sky wonders in the spring heavens, or even tackle a Messier Marathon.

Mon. April 8 – The grouping of Aldebaran, Mars and the Pleiades will be joined by the waxing crescent Moon tonight.

Wed. April 10 - Algol the Devil Star will put on one of its dimming performances this evening. The eclipsing binary star will be at minimum brightness from 7.49pm to 9.49pm. Its brightness in relation to neighbouring stars in Perseus at that time can be compared to its brighter ‘normal’ luminosity later in the night.

Thurs. April 11 – While the reddish colour of Mars and its namesake Antares are often compared with each other, tonight our outer neighbour can be sized up with another bright red giant star, Aldebaran in Taurus. The two will be in fairly close proximity in the western sky during early evening hours in the coming week.

Fri. April 12 – This is First Quarter Moon night. As darkness falls our perfectly divided neighbour will be well placed high in the sky to survey signs of advancing spring in the Okanagan.

Sat. April 13 – The waxing crescent Moon will be in tempting proximity to the Beehive cluster in Cancer tonight. Messier 44 is one of the nearest open clusters to the solar system, appearing as a fuzzy patch to the naked eye, resolving itself into stars with binoculars or a telescope.

Sun. April 14 – The restless Moon, now waxing toward full phase, will approach the neighbourhood of bright Regulus in Leo tonight.

Tues. April 16 – A conjunction of Mars and bright Aldebaran in Taurus will occur in the western sky after nightfall tonight. About the width of four fingers will separate them.

Fri. April 19 – This is Full Moon night. While not the most exciting time to view our neighbour with a telescope, it will be at its full romantic power as it rises over the eastern mountains at dinner time to superintend the spring night.

Mon. April 22 - For lovers of meteor showers, this year's Lyrids will be competing with a waning gibbous Moon. The best opportunity to view the ‘shooting stars’ will be as late as possible but before the Moon rises as the radiant climbs higher into the eastern sky. After moonrise the fainter shower members will be compromised through to dawn.

Mon. April 22 – Reddish Antares in the constellation of Scorpius will receive a visit from the waning gibbous Moon low in the southeastern sky in the wee hours this morning.

Tues. April 23 – Those awake in the pre dawn hours will be rewarded with the appearance of the shrinking Moon in the company of Jupiter and the star 51 Ophiuchus in the eastern sky. Although it is not a particularly bright star, 51 Oph is an interesting one. In viewing it, the photons entering your eye have been traveling for 410 years, bringing evidence that the star harbours a young planetary system in formation.

Tues. April 23 – The beautiful sight of bright Jupiter approaching close to the waning gibbous Moon can be seen in the wee hours this morning. The two will be separated by only the diameter of the Moon just before 5am, but you can observe their dramatic combined rising over the eastern mountains several hours earlier.

Thurs. April 25 – Before dawn this morning the almost last quarter Moon will cozy up to Saturn, creating a picturesque combination.

Fri. April 26 – This is Last Quarter Moon night. The reverse half lit sphere will rise over the eastern mountains after midnight, remaining high in the sky the following morning to monitor advancing spring growth in the Okanagan.

Tues. April 30 – As April ends, the waning crescent Moon will visit the outer planet Neptune in the pre dawn sky. About the width of two fingers will separate them.