"Pillaging the Universe One Star at a Time"


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May 15th - 17th!!  

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Upcoming Observing Highlights for April 2015   (from skymaps.com)
1 Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth) at 13h UT (distance 406,012 km; angular size 29.4').
4 Total Eclipse of the Moon begins at 11:54 UT and ends at 12:06 UT (only 12 minutes). Mid-eclipse at 12:00 UT. Partial phases begin at 10:15 UT and end at 13:45 UT. The Moon will appear red-orange in color during totality (the color of EarthΥs sunsets). Visible from North America, the Pacific Ocean, Australia, New Zealand and most of Asia.
• Eclipses of 2015 (NASA)
• Total Lunar Eclipse of 2015 April 4 (PDF) (NASA)
4 Full Moon at 12:06 UT.
5 Moon near Spica (midnight sky) at 5h UT.
8 Moon near Saturn (morning sky) at 13h UT. Mag. +0.3.
8 Moon near Antares (morning sky) at 23h UT.
10 Mercury at superior conjunction with the Sun at 4h UT. The elusive planet passes into the evening sky.
11 Venus 2.6° SSE of the Pleiades (39° from Sun, evening sky) at 22h UT. Mag. -4.1.
12 Last Quarter Moon at 3:44 UT.
17 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 4h UT (361,023 km; angular size 33.1').
18 New Moon at 18:57 UT. Start of lunation 1142.
• Lunation Number (Wikipedia)
20 Venus 7.4°N of Aldebaran (40° from Sun, evening sky) at 0h UT. Mags. -4.1 and +0.9.
20 Moon near the Pleiades (evening sky) at 23h UT.
21 Moon near Aldebaran (evening sky) at 17h UT. Occultation visible from north central Asia.
• Occultation of Aldebaran (IOTA)
21 Moon near Venus (evening sky) at 19h UT. Mag. -4.1.
23 Lyrid meteor shower peaks at 0h UT ± 4 hours. Active April 16-25. Radiant is between Hercules and Lyra. Expect 10 to 20 bright, fast meteors per hour at its peak. Moon will set late evening making for ideal viewing conditions.
• Observing the Lyrids (Gary Kronk)
• Meteor Shower Calendar 2015 (PDF) (IMO)
25 First Quarter Moon at 23:55 UT.
26 Moon near Beehive Cluster (evening sky) at 5h UT.
26 Moon near Jupiter (evening sky) at 16h UT. Mag. -2.1.
28 Moon near Regulus (evening sky) at 2h UT.
29 Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth) at 4h UT (distance 405,083 km; angular size 29.5').
>>> All times Universal Time (UT).    USA Central Standard Time = UT-6 hours.  (DST = UT-5 hrs,)


Zodiacal Light is caused by sunlight reflected off meteoric dust in the plane of the solar system. Choose a clear, moonless night, about 1-2 hours after sunset, and look for a large triangular-shaped glow extending up from the horizon (along the ecliptic). The best months to view the Zodiacal Light is when the ecliptic is almost vertical at the horizon: March and April (evening) and October-November (morning); times reversed for the southern hemisphere.
• Zodiacal Light (Wikipedia)
• Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)
• Photographing the Zodiacal Light (Weatherscapes)