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April 2019 Sky Chart

 Observing Tips

If possible, observe at a dark location and when the Moon is not bright. A bright Moon will make it more difficult to see the stars and impossible to see clusters, nebulae and galaxies. Only a small telescope at lower magnifications, around 50x, is required to see the objects listed below. The planets and Moon are best observed with a telescope around 100x.

Moon Phases

   New Moon. Friday April 5
  First Quarter. Friday April 12
  Full Moon. Friday April 19
  Last Quarter. Friday April 26

April Notes

The bright Winter constellations of CANIS MAJOR/MINOR, ORION, GEMINI, TAURUS and AURIGA hover in the west. Orion’s Betelgeuse, with Sirius and Procyon, form the Winter Triangle.

At the zenith is LEO with its reverse question mark (the Sickle) punctuated by the kingly star, Regulus. The plough is due north of LEO (their “backs” face each other). The handle of the dipper curves and points to the star Arcturus in BOOTES and if you continue the curve, you will encounter Spica in VIRGO.

In front of Leo is CANCER containing the Beehive sprinkle of stars and to Leo’s rear is another sprinkle of stars in Coma Berenices. Both sprinkles can be seen easily with binoculars.

Objects marked with   are best with binoculars, or a small telescope, because these objects are large in size.

Clusters, Nebulae, Galaxies

 Alpha Persei Cluster. Distance: 600 ly / Diameter: 31 ly.

 M44. Beehive Cluster. Distance: 610 ly / Diameter: 16 ly / Mag 3 / In CANCER.

 Castor Double Star. Favourite double star. You’ll need a telescope with 50x to 100x to see Castor separate into two stars. Magnitudes of two stars are 1.9 and 3.0. In Gemini

Double Cluster. Two side-by-side clusters. Distances: 7,200 ly / Diameters: 63 ly / Mag 3.5. Best in a telescope but visible with eyes in dark skies. In PERSEUS.

M35. Cluster. Distance: 3000 ly / Diameter: 24 ly / Mag 5. In GEMINI.

M34. Large Cluster. Distance: 1,400 ly / Diameter: 14 ly / Mag 5.2. Try with binoculars, too. In PERSEUS.

M36. Cluster. Distance: 3,700 ly / Diameter: 13 ly / Mag 6.0. Try with binoculars, too. In AURIGA.

M37. Cluster. Distance: 4,200 ly / Diameter: 29 ly / Mag 5.6 /. Try with binoculars, too. In AURIGA.

M81/82. Bode’s Galaxies. Visible in many light polluted skies. M82 shaped like a cigar. Mags 6.8/8.1. In URSA MAJOR.

M104. Sombrero Galaxy. Distance: 48 million ly / Diameter: 126,000 ly / Mag 8.1. In VIRGO

Brightest Stars

Aldebaran. In TAURUS. Magnitude +1. Distance: 65 ly. Orange Giant star 45 times the diameter of our Sun.

Arcturus. In BOOTES. Magnitude –0.04. Distance: 37 ly. Diameter: 26 times the Sun. It’s an Orange Giant.

Betelgeuse. In ORION. Magnitude +0.56. Distance: 428 ly. Red Supergiant with a diameter 650 times the Sun.

Capella. In AURIGA. Magnitude +0.1. Distance: 42 ly. Diameter: 15 times the Sun’s. It’s actually 4 orbiting stars.

Castor. In GEMINI. Magnitude +1.6. Distance: 52 ly. A double star that is twice the diameter of the Sun.

Polaris. In URSA MINOR. Magnitude +2. Distance: 431 ly. 2,400 times brighter than the Sun. Supergiant star.

Pollux. In GEMINI. Magnitude +1.2. Distance: 34 ly. Its diameter is 8.8 times the Sun & 46 times brighter.

Procyon. In CANIS MINOR. Magnitude +0.4. Distance: 11.4 ly. Diameter is 2 times the Sun’s & 7.5 times brighter.

Rigel. In ORION. Magnitude +1.3. Distance: 3200 ly. Diameter: 222 times the Sun’s. Blue-White Supergiant.

Sirius. Rising in CANIS MAJOR. Magnitude –1.44. Distance: 8.6 ly. The very brightest star in the whole sky but some planets, like Jupiter and Venus, are brighter. It has a diameter 1.8 times that of the Sun and is 23 times brighter. 7th closest star to us.

Spica. In VIRGO. Magnitude +1.1. Distance: 262 ly. It’s actually two close stars revolving around each other in 4 days.

Meteor Shower

The LYRIDS peak around April 22 with 15–20 meteors/hour