Monday, April 9, 2012

April 2012

Hopefully April showers will not ruin our chances of good sky watching this month!

The moon this month was full on the 6th. We should have a new moon again by the 21st.

So far as sunspots go, infamous spot 1429 and now 1450 have calmed down and no longer are a threat. 1429 had been tracked on the far side of the sun for the last month.

Looking for a meteor shower? The Lyrids will be this month on the evening of the 21-22. The Lyrids originate from detritus left by comet C/Thatcher. As the moon will just be new, we should have nice dark skies to watch the show.

Want something a little more challenging to target this month? Why not try spotting M44, the beehive cluster in Cancer. M44 is a good, open cluster for mid-range scopes. In ancient Greek mythology, Cancer the crab along with Hydra the water snake both fought the hero Hercules and lost after an epic battle.

Spica will be an excellent star target this month in Virgo. Always glittering, try to see if you can spot the planet Saturn close by as it rises this month. Regulus and the planet Mars will also be rather close together, too, by the way. While we are at it, Venus will be with the Pleiades, so there is more than enough to look for.

If you have any questions about these subjects or any other subjects in astronomy, join us on the 3rd Tuesday night of each month for our Astronomy Series from 7:00-8:30pm in the Wetherbee Planetarium at Thronateeska Heritage Center.

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