April 2019

Sky Report - April 2019

By Dr. Bob Doyle, Emeritus Faculty
Dr. Doyle taught and was Planetarium Director at Frostburg State University for over 40 years

First Quarter of April

Sunrise is 6:56 a.m. and sunset at 7:41 p.m. Daily sunlight lasts 12 hr. 45 min. The Sun is in the star group Pisces. Moon is slender crescent at start of April, appearing at dawn near Venus on April 2 and near Mercury on April 3. Moon’s motion about Earth carries it from the morning to the evening side of the sun on April 5. The moon will appear as a slender crescent low in the western dusk on April 6 and 7. If you can imagine the moon as a bow, an arrow shot from this bow will go into the sun. If the dusk is clear, you may see the dark left side of the moon, dimly illuminated by the light of the nearly full Earth. This is called ‘Earthshine’. Dawn planets include the planet Saturn and the bright planet Jupiter in the South. Bright evening star groups include Orion (Southwest) and the very bright star Sirius to the left of Orion. The bright golden star Capella is in the Northwest. High in the South is the star Regulus of Leo. The bright golden star Arcturus is in the East.

Second Quarter of April

Sunrise is 6:45 a.m. and sunset at 7:48 p.m. Daily sunlight lasts 13 hr. 3 min. The Sun is in the star group Pisces. On April 9, the evening moon will appear above the bright star Aldebaran with the planet Mars to the right of Aldebaran. On Friday, April 12, the moon will appear half full with its right side in sunlight (like a letter ‘D’). Along the moon’s straight lighted edge, the sun there is rising, lighting up the raised crater rims and elevations. The evenings of April 11-13 are the best for observing the moon’s surface features with a telescope. The flat grey areas are huge lava plains, formed billions of years ago that have since cooled and hardened. The planet Mercury is at its greatest height in the Southeast at dawn while Venus has disappeared in the sun’s glow. The other dawn planets are Saturn and the bright planet Jupiter in the South.

Third Quarter of April

Sunrise is 6:34 a.m. and sunset is 7:55 p.m. Daily sunlight lasts 13 hr.21 min. The sun is in the star group Aries. On Tuesday evening, April 16, the moon is closest to the Earth along its orbit and brightest. The moon is full on April 19, rising about ½ hour after sunset and visible all through the night. The moon then appears in eastern Virgo to the left of Spica, Virgo’s brightest star. Each evening following the full moon, the moon rises more than an hour later than the previous night. At 5 a.m. on April 23, the moon will appear near the bright planet Jupiter. The Big Dipper is now high in the northern evening sky. Extend its handle outward to the bright orange star Arcturus. Low in the Northeast is the bright white-blue star Vega, the first bright summer evening star to appear. The bright star group Orion is sinking lower in the West, followed by the very bright star Sirius.

Fourth Quarter of April

Sunrise is 6:23 a.m. and sunset is 8:03 p.m. Daily sunlight lasts 13 hr. 40 min. The sun is in the star group Aries. At dawn on April 25, the moon will appear close to the planet Saturn in the 5 a.m. dawn. On April 26, the morning moon will appear half full (like a reversed ‘D’) in the southern dawn. The planet Mars remains the only evening planet, appearing above the bright orange star Aldebaran, the same tint as Mars but brighter. The evening zodiac group Virgo stretches from the South to the Southeast, being the widest zodiac group. There is a compact 4 sided star group named Corvus, the Crow below Virgo. The top two stars of Corvus point left to Spica, Virgo’s brightest star.

Any questions about the sky or my portable planetarium, you can email me at rdoyle@frostburg.edu. I will try to answer any questions sent to me.

Contact Us

Dr. Jason Speights

Director of the MLC
Assistant Professor of Physics

Email: jcspeights@frostburg.edu (preferred)
Phone: 301.687.4339
Office: Gira CCIT 189

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Department of Physics and Engineering
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303

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