Friday, April 4, 2014

Sky Events April 2014

Moon Phases

Monday, Apr. 7, 4:31 a.m. EDT

First Quarter 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.

Tuesday, Apr. 15, 3:42 a.m. EDT

Full Moon

The Full Moon of April is known as the Seed Moon, Pink Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon, or Fish Moon. It 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.

Tuesday, Apr. 22, 3:52 a.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 2:15 a.m. and sets around 1 p.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Tuesday, Apr. 29, 2:14 a.m. EDT

New Moon

This is the second New Moon this month. There is no special name for this event. Notice how much closer the Sun and Moon are compared to the New Moon on April 1. At the next New Moon on April 29, the Moon will pass directly in front of the Sun, causing an annular solar eclipse, visible in Antarctica and Australia.

Observing Highlights

Thursday, Apr. 3, evening

Aldebaran and the Moon

The Moon will be close to the red giant star Aldebaran in Taurus this evening.

Tuesday, April 8, 5 p.m. EDT

Mars at opposition

Mars will be at opposition, exactly opposite the Sun in the sky. Oddly enough, Mars isn’t at its closest to the Earth for nearly 6 more days, because of Mars’ elliptical orbit.

Saturday, Apr. 12, 4 a.m. EDT

Venus and Neptune

An unusual opportunity to view the brightest and the faintest planets at the same time. This will be a difficult observation because the sky is starting to get light by the time the planets rise, making it difficult to see 8th magnitude Neptune. A low eastern horizon will be necessary.

Sunday, Apr. 13, 8 a.m. EDT

Vesta at opposition

The brightest asteroid Vesta will be opposite the Sun this morning. At magnitude 5.8 it should be just visible with the naked eye under dark skies; an easy target in binoculars.

Monday, April 14, 9 a.m.

Mars closest approach

Because of its eccentric orbit, Mars will be at its closest to Earth today, almost a week after opposition on April 8. This is an unfavourable opposition, Mars being only 15.1 arc seconds in diameter. Later today, the almost Full Moon will pass just north of Mars.

Monday, April 14, sunset

Mars and the Moon

Shortly after sunset, Mars and the Moon will be visible rising in the East.

Tuesday, Apr. 15, 2 a.m. EDT

Ceres at opposition

Ceres will be directly opposite the Sun in the sky, in Virgo. Ceres was the first asteroid discovered in 1801, and was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006. At magnitude 7.0, it will be easily visible in binoculars as a star-like point of light. It is less than 1 arc second in angular diameter.

Tuesday, Apr. 15, 12:54–6:38 a.m. EDT

Total eclipse of the Moon

The Moon will be completely immersed in the Earth’s shadow from 3:07 a.m. until 4:25 a.m., with partial phases being visible before and after. This eclipse will be visible over all of north and South America, across the Pacific Ocean, and in Australia and New Zealand.

Thursday, Apr. 17, 3 a.m. EDT

Saturn and the Moon

The nearly Full Moon will pass just north of the planet Saturn. Observers in southern South America and French Polynesia will see the Moon occult Saturn. Saturn is just appearing from behind the Moon as seen from Papeete, Tahiti.

Tuesday, Apr. 29

Annular Solar Eclipse

This annual eclipse will only be total in a small area in Antarctica, but will be widely seen as a partial eclipse. The partial phases all be visible from most of Australia, and far across the southern Indian Ocean. It is seen here from Hobart, Tasmania.


Mercury is too close to the Sun to be observed this month.

Venus is now a “morning star,” rising in the East just before the sun.

Mars is in opposition on April 8 and closest to the Earth on April 14. It is visible in Virgo all night long.

Jupiter shines brightly in the South in Gemini most of the night, setting in the northwest around 2 a.m. The Great Red Spot is easier to see than in many recent years, showing a distinct orange color.

Saturn, in Libra, rises in the eastern sky around 10 p.m., and is visible the rest of the night.

Uranus is too close to the Sun to be visible.

Neptune is close to Venus in Aquarius all month, rising just before the Sun.

Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
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