Home / Space force / This Week’s Sky at a Glance, April 26 – May 4 – Sky & Telescope

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, April 26 – May 4 – Sky & Telescope

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Saturn and Sagittarius in early dawn, late April and early May 2019

All this week, Saturn stays virtually stationary with respect to the Sagittarius Teapot in early daybreak and earlier than. The blue 10° scale is in regards to the width of your fist at arm’s size.

Friday, April 26

• Final-quarter Moon (actual at 6:18 p.m. EDT). The Moon rises very late tonight, round three a.m. daylight-saving time, within the middle of the dim, boat-shape sample of Capricornus. Excessive above the Moon is Altair. The brightest “stars” far to the Moon’s proper or higher proper are Saturn, then brighter Jupiter.

Saturday, April 27

• As evening descends, look excessive within the west for Pollux and Castor lined up virtually horizontally (relying in your latitude). These two stars, the heads of the Gemini twins, type the highest of the big Arch of Spring. To their decrease left is Procyon, the left finish of the Arch. Farther to their decrease proper is the opposite finish, fashioned by Menkalinan (Beta Aurigae) after which sensible Capella. The entire thing sinks decrease by means of the night.

Trendy skywatchers will not be alone in seeing the Arch of Spring as one massive asterism. Lengthen it down previous Procyon so as to add Sirius, and you have got the Hawaiian Canoe-Bailer of Makali‘i.

Sunday, April 28

• Because the final of twilight fades out, the dim Little Dipper extends to the best from Polaris. Excessive above the Little Dipper’s bowl (marked by Kochab, Polaris’s equal in brightness), you may discover the bowl of the Massive Dipper.

Sickle of Leo

Sickle of Leo

Monday, April 29

• Simply after darkish, the Sickle of Leo stands vertical excessive within the south. Its backside star is Regulus, the brightest of Leo. In second place is yellow Algieba above it.

Leo himself is strolling horizontally westward. The Sickle varieties his entrance leg, chest, mane, and a part of his head. Denebola, about two and a half fists at arm’s size left of Regulus, is his tail-tip.

Tuesday, April 30

• Arcturus is the brightest star excessive within the east these evenings. Spica shines decrease proper of it by about three fists. To the best of Spica by half that distance is the distinctive four-star constellation of Corvus, the Crow of Spring.

Wednesday, Might 1

• It is Might now, however wintry Sirius nonetheless twinkles very low within the west-southwest on the finish of twilight. It units quickly after. How for much longer into the spring can you retain Sirius in view? In different phrases, what shall be its date of “heliacal setting” as seen by you?

Thursday, Might 2

• Summer season is greater than six weeks away, however the Summer season Triangle is starting to make its look within the east, one star after one other. The primary in view is Vega. It is already seen low within the northeast as twilight fades.

Subsequent up is Deneb, decrease left of Vega by two or three fists at arm’s size. Deneb takes about an hour to look after Vega does, relying in your latitude.

The third is Altair, which exhibits up far to their decrease proper round midnight.

Friday, Might three

• Three zero-magnitude stars shine after darkish in Might: Arcturus excessive within the southeast, Vega a lot decrease within the northeast, and Capella within the northwest. They seem so vivid as a result of every is a minimum of 60 instances as luminous because the Solar, and since they’re all comparatively close by: 37, 25, and 42 light-years from us, respectively.

Saturday, Might four

• Vega is the brightest star within the northeast late these evenings. Look 14° (a few fist and a half at arm’s size) to Vega’s higher left for Eltanin, the nostril of Draco the Dragon. Nearer above and higher left of Eltanin are the three fainter stars of Draco’s stick-figure head, additionally known as the Lozenge. Draco at all times factors his nostril to Vega irrespective of how we see them. He appears awfully interested by it. A jewel for dragon meals?

The faintest star of Draco’s head, reverse Eltanin, is 4th-magnitude Nu Draconis. It is a pretty, equal-brightness double star for binoculars and small scopes (separation 61 arcseconds).

• New Moon (actual at 6:46 p.m. EDT).


Wish to turn out to be a greater astronomer? Study your approach across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding all the pieces fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.

That is an outside nature pastime. For an easy-to-use constellation information masking the entire night sky, use the large month-to-month map within the middle of every situation of Sky & Telescope, the important information to astronomy.

Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas cover

The Pocket Sky Atlas plots 30,796 stars to magnitude 7.6, and tons of of telescopic galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae amongst them. Proven above is the Jumbo Edition for simpler studying within the evening. Sample chart.

When you get a telescope, to place it to good use you may want an in depth, large-scale sky atlas (set of charts). The essential customary is the Pocket Sky Atlas (in both the original or Jumbo Edition), which exhibits stars to magnitude 7.6.

Subsequent up is the bigger and deeper Sky Atlas 2000.0, plotting stars to magnitude eight.5; almost 3 times as many. The following up, as soon as you recognize your approach round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) and Uranometria 2000.0 (stars to magnitude 9.75). And browse how to use sky charts with a telescope.

You will additionally desire a good deep-sky guidebook, corresponding to Sue French’s Deep-Sky Wonders assortment (which incorporates its personal charts), Sky Atlas 2000.0 Companion by Robust and Sinnott, or the larger Night Sky Observer’s Guide by Kepple and Sanner.

Can a computerized telescope exchange charts? Not for freshmen, I do not suppose, and never on mounts and tripods which might be lower than top-quality mechanically (that means heavy and costly). And as Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer say of their Backyard Astronomer’s Guide, “A full appreciation of the universe can not come with out creating the abilities to seek out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This information comes solely by spending time below the celebrities with star maps in hand.”

Mercury imaged with the 1-meter Chilescope

“You may’t see element on Mercury.” That is been a truism for amateurs visually, however it’s not true for expert astrophotographers, particularly in the event that they’re utilizing the 1-meter (40-inch) Chilescope remotely. Damian Peach caught this richly detailed picture of Mercury’s floor on the morning of April eighth. The present apparition of Mercury is poor for viewers in  the Northern Hemisphere however good for the Southern Hemisphere.

Jupiter with Great Red Spot, April 15, 2019

Jupiter’s Nice Crimson Spot was on the planet’s central meridian (System II longitude 309°) when Christopher Go took this picture on April 15th with a 14-inch Schmidt-Cass. South is up. Left of (previous) the GRS, the south fringe of the South Equatorial Belt could be very darkish. On the next facet of the GRS this function is lacking.
As I often do, I’ve brightened Go’s picture to look a bit extra like Jupiter does in a telescope. To imitate Jupiter’s look in beginner scopes of varied sizes (in very regular seeing), flip your display to most brightness and look at this picture from the far facet of the room whereas squinting your eyes to numerous levels. Research the view as fastidiously as you may; take your time. What are the very most interesting particulars you detect that become actual once you come near verify?

Saturn on April 7, 2019

Saturn by Peach on April seventh, additionally taken with the Chilescope. South is up. Stacked-video photographs of Saturn could be difficult to course of with out creating false artifacts, attributable to their many high-contrast borders between vivid and darkish. Peach’s appear to be virtually freed from them. For example, the skinny Encke Hole close to the outer fringe of the outer A hoop is recorded unambiguously. Be aware the North Polar Hexagon and its tiny central dot.

The Venus-Mercury problem will get even more durable! Venus (magnitude –three.9) and far fainter Mercury (about magnitude –zero.three) are each very low within the brightening daybreak. Choose up Venus simply above the due-east horizon about 20 minutes earlier than dawn. Then use binoculars or a wide-field telescope to search for little Mercury 6° to eight° to its decrease left. Good luck.

Mars (magnitude +1.6, in Taurus) glows within the west throughout and after nightfall, decrease each week now. Spot it about 20° to the best of brighter, Mars-colored Betelgeuse – the topmost vivid star of departing Orion. In a telescope Mars is a hopeless little blur-blob (4½ throughout); it is virtually as removed from Earth because it ever will get.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.four, on the jap foot of Ophiuchus) rises within the southeast round 11 or midnight daylight-saving time. It shines highest within the south earlier than daybreak begins, in order that’s the perfect time to watch it telescopically. Jupiter has grown to 43 arcseconds huge (equatorial diameter) because it creeps towards its June 10th opposition. See Richard Jakiel’s Jupiter observing information within the May Sky & Telescope, web page 52.

Saturn (magnitude +zero.6, in Sagittarius) rises round 1 a.m. As daybreak begins, it is the “star” 27° (virtually three fists at arm’s size) to Jupiter’s left.

Uranus is hidden along with the Solar.

Neptune remains to be deep within the glow of dawn.


All descriptions that relate to your horizon — together with the phrases up, down, proper, and left — are written for the world’s mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions that additionally rely on longitude (primarily Moon positions) are for North America.

Japanese Daylight Time (EDT) is Common Time (UT, UTC, GMT, or Z time) minus four hours.


Audio sky tour. Out below the night sky along with your earbuds in place, take heed to Kelly Beatty’s month-to-month podcast tour of the heavens above. It is free.


“We could also be little guys, however we don’t suppose small. It’s the braveness of questions, of greedy our true circumstances, and never pretending we’re on the middle of all of it, that’s maturity.”
– Ann Druyan, 2014



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