Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sky Events April 2013


Moon Phases

Wed., April 3, 12:37 a.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The last or third quarter moon rises around 2:40 a.m. and sets around 12:50 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Wed., April 10, 5:35 a.m. EDT

New Moon

The moon is not visible on the date of new moon because it is too close to the sun, but can be seen low in the east as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the west an evening or two after new moon.

Thu., April 18, 8:31 a.m. EDT

First Quarter Moon

The first quarter moon rises around 12:30 p.m. and sets around 3 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Thu., April 25, 3:57 p.m. EDT

Full Moon

The full moon of April is called the Seed Moon. Its Cree name is Kiskipizun, meaning “Gray Goose Moon.” Other names are Sprouting Grass Moon, Fish Moon, Growing Moon, Waking Moon, and Pink Moon. In Hindi it is known as Hanuman Jayanti. Its Sinhala (Buddhist) name is Bak. The full moon rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, the only night in the month when the moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.


Observing Highlights

Sun., April 14, 2 p.m. EDT

Jupiter north of the moon

Jupiter will be 2 degrees north of the moon, giving an excellent opportunity to view the giant planet is the daylight sky. Quite a few people have seen Venus with their unaided eyes in daylight, but very few have seen Jupiter. Locate it first with binoculars, then try to spot it with the naked eye.

Wed., April 24, 8 p.m. local time

Spica near the moon

Look closely at the rising moon tonight. Notice a tiny star just above it? That’s Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo. As seen from Central America, the Caribbean, and southern Africa, the moon will actually pass in front of Spica.

Thu., April 25

Partial Lunar Eclipse

The moon will pass through the outer parts of the moon’s shadow tonight for observers over much of the Eastern Hemisphere. Unfortunately this eclipse will not be visible anywhere in North America.

Sun., April 28, 4 a.m. EDT

Saturn at opposition

Saturn is directly opposite the sun in the sky. It sits on the boundary between the constellations Virgo and Libra, just to the east of the bright star Spica. It is visible all night, rising in the east as the sun sets in the west, and setting in the west as the sun rises in the east.


Mercury will be in the eastern  sky at sunrise all month, but will be very low for observers in the Northern Hemisphere. Southerners will fare better: this will be their best morning apparition of the year.

Venus is on the far side of the sun, and too close to it to be observed all month.

Mars is on the far side of the sun, being in conjunction with it on April 18.

Jupiter continues its stay in Taurus. It is high in the western sky in the early evening and sets in the northwest around midnight.

Saturn is in opposition in Libra on April 28. It is visible all night.

Uranus is in Pisces but still too close to the sun to be observed.

Neptune is in Aquarius all month, now visible in the morning sky.

Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
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