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Monthly Sky Report - April 2007

GETTING DIRECTIONS - To find the planets, bright stars and groups, you need to know the compass directions where you watch the sky. Lacking a compass, you can use the sun at the start, middle and end of the day. As you face the rising sun - it will be rising nearly in the East. In mid day, look at your shadow which then points North. The sun will set nearly in the West.

ALL THRU APRIL. During April, there is an average of 13.3 hours of sunlight each day. During April, the sunsets slide forward from 7:39 p.m. to 8:07 p.m. Sunrises change from 7 a.m. early in the month to 6:17 a.m. at month's end. Stars begin to fade away an hour before sunrise and the star groups come into view an hour after sunset. In the early evening, there are three very bright stars visible, sparkling Sirius, low in the Southwest, golden Capella in the West and golden Arcturus in the East. But the grandest sight is the brilliant planet Venus in the southwestern evening at dusk. The other evening planet is Saturn, seen in the Southeast as darkness falls. The two planets can be distinguished from the bright stars by their steady light. Low in the western evening sky is the bright star group Orion, shaped like an hour glass with two bright stars on top, three stars in the middle and two bright stars on the bottom. Orion's middle stars points left to Sirius, the night's brightest star. The Big Dipper is high in the North with its two top scoop stars pointing down to the North Star. The Dipper's handle can be extended to the bright golden star Arcturus, low in the East.

SIGHTS FOR EARLY APRIL'07. The evening moon is full on April 2nd, then appearing in Virgo. This first full moon of spring triggers Easter on the following Sunday, April 8th. On Easter before dawn, the crescent moon appears near the very bright planet Jupiter.

SIGHTS FOR MID APRIL '07. The moon is mainly seen in the morning sky, lying to the west of the sun. The early evening will then be great for viewing the bright winter stars, then in the Southwest. On April 11th, the brilliant planet Venus passes to left of the Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster in the western dusk. On April 19th, a slender crescent moon appears between the Seven Sisters and Venus.

SIGHTS FOR LATE APRIL '07- On April 23rd, the evening moon appears half full in Cancer. This the best shape for viewing the moon's craters with binoculars. On the next evening, the moon appears near the bright planet Saturn. On April 30th, the moon will appear near the star Spica, Virgo's brightest star.

Our free public April Planetarium presentation is "Favorite Planet Stories", shown on April 2nd, 16th, 23rd and 30th at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. (There are no Easter programs.) The Planetarium is in Tawes 302, near the middle of the Frostburg State campus. Visit our website at www.frostburg.edu/planetarium .

Astronomy Activities
Our free public April Planetarium presentation is "Favorite Planet Stories", shown on April 2nd, 16th, 23rd and 30th at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. (There are no Easter programs.) The Planetarium is in Tawes 302, near the middle of the Frostburg State campus.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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