Podcaster: Rob Webb
Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School
Description: April brings us plenty of Jupiter time, a close encounter between Mars and Saturn, and a potentially decent Lyrid meteor shower. And MAYBE some better weather.
Bio: Rob Webb is a physics, astronomy, and sustainability teacher at Pequea Valley High School in Pennsylvania. His passions include teaching, astronomy, astrophotography, planetariums, running, reading, and golf. A proud graduate of Dickinson College in 2005, he also obtained a Master’s Degree in Science Education from Penn State University after conducting research in regards to the current state of planetariums in Pennsylvania. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com
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April brings us plenty of Jupiter time, a close encounter between Mars and Saturn, and a potentially decent Lyrid meteor shower. And MAYBE some better weather.
2nd–Close Encounter– Mars & Saturn – Find the teapot of Sagittarius and also find bright caramel-colored Saturn and ruddy red Mars less than 1˚ apart, with Mars below Saturn.
7th–Close Encounter– Moon, Mars, Saturn – Find the Moon after 2:30am and you’ll also find Saturn 2˚ below and to the left, and Mars 2˚ below and to the left of that.
Last Quarter Moon– 8th(Visible from midnight into the morning)
New Moon– 15th(darkest skies)
17th –Close Encounter– Moon, Venus – Look West after sunset for bright Venus with a very thin crescent Moon just 5˚ to the left.
22nd – LYRID METEOR SHOWER– Not the strongest shower, at only 10-20 meteors per hour, but the Moon will be a First Quarter, so look North in general after midnight and into the morning.
Some advice for watching:
Find a dark location and lie down in a reclining chair or something that insulates you from the ground.
Check the weather to see if the skies will be clear
Adapt your eyes to the dark by staying away from light sources or using a red light if you need to look at a star chart or not trip over something.
Or find out if your local astronomy club or museum is holding a viewing party
First Quarter Moon– 22nd(Visible until midnight)
Full Moon– 29th(Visible all night)
30th–Close Encounter– Moon, Jupiter – Find the Moon after 9:30pm and you’ll also find Jupiter about 5˚ to the right, both within Libra.
CONSTELLATIONS… (see sky map link at the bottom for a Star Map for this month – or ask Mr. Webb) Look straight upand you’ll see…
After Sunset(sunset is around 7:30-8:00pm)– Cancer, Leo, Lynx, Ursa Major’s legs – Extra Challenge!Find M44 in the middle of Cancer – an open cluster of stars also known as the Beehive Cluster. You may be able to see it as a small fuzzy patch with your naked eye if you have very dark skies. However, with a pair of binoculars or a telescope on low power, it will look like a hive of bees in the distance, hence its nickname.
Between Sunset and Midnight– Leo, Leo Minor, Ursa Major’s legs
Midnight– Canes Venatici, Coma Berenices are closer to the Zenith (the point straight above you), but Ursa Major, Leo, and Bootes make a nice but bigger triangle around it.
Early Morning– Hercules, Lyra, Cygnus – These are the Summer constellations, and since they are starting to rise in the morning now, that means that summer is on its way.
GENERAL CONSTELLATION FINDING TIPS:
Winter constellations: LAST CHANCE FOR THE WINTER CONSTELLATIONS! Orion is still easy to spot as he is directly in the SW after sunset. You can use Orion to find many other winter constellations, for the last time until the fall.
Using Orion: Find Orion by looking for the three stars in a row that make up Orion’s belt in the Southwest. If you draw a line from the left star to the right star and keep going right about 20 degrees (about 2 fists at arm’s length) until you reach another very bright star, you will have reached the star Aldebaran in Taurus (the V). Follow that line a little more (about another fist) and you’ll find the Pleiades.
If you start at his belt again, but instead go the opposite way and draw a line from the right star in Orion’s belt to the left star, and keep going left about 20 degrees (2 fists again), you’ll come to the brightest star in the sky – Sirius – part of Canis Major.
Above these three constellations are Gemini and Auriga. The brightest stars in each of these constellations form a circle in the sky. Going clockwise – Aldebaron (Taurus) – Rigel (Orion – bottom right foot) – Sirius (Canis Major) – Procyon (Canis Minor) – Castor & Pollux (Gemini) – Capella (Auriga). It makes for great stargazing in the winter sky.
Use a sky map from www.skymaps.comto help you out.
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
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