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Post Info TOPIC: April 2018


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April 2018
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Mercury makes its closest approach to the Earth (distance: 0.588 AU) at 04:20 UT, 5th April 2018.

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The Moon is near Antares at ~03:00 UT, 5th April 2018.



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Moonrise in the constellation Ophiuchus is at ~23:40 UT, 4th April 2018 (for Scotland)

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Dwarf planet Pluto reaches its maximum northerly declination (-21.451°) on the 4th April 2018



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The Moon is close to Jupiter in the constellation Libra at 14:14 UT, 3rd April 2018.

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Mars is 1.3° south of Saturn at 11:53 UT, 2nd April 2018.

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Mars passes close to the globular cluster M22 at ~22:00 UT, 1st April 2018.



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Mercury is at inferior conjunction (separation 2.8° ) at ~17:55 UT, 1st April 2018.  

Distance to Earth: 0.597 AU



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Meteor Showers

This month sees the arrival of the Lyrids and the Virginids. Neither shower is very intense, but they do provide you with examples of shooting stars with different speeds: the fast Lyrids compared to the slower Virginids.
The peak of the April Lyrids (from the constellation of Lyra, the Harp) is on the 22nd, when you could see a maximum of about 15 meteors an hour. 
The Virginids peak on the 18th with 5 meteors an hour. 
Watch out for sporadic meteors. Their rates for the Northern Hemisphere are now reaching a plateau. Expect around 12 random meteors per hour during the morning hours

ShowerActivity PeriodMaximumRadiantVelocityZHR
  DateR.A.Dec.km/s 
Kappa-SerpentidsApril 1 -7Apr. 6  231° 17.8° 46.3  4
Zeta CygnidsMar 27 to April 13Apr. 6 295° 37 44 2
Gamma Virginids Jan 25 to April 18Apr 11 195° -04° 33 4.6
Alpha-VirginidsMar 22 - Apr 26Apr 18 185° 9.6° 20.1 5
LyridsApril 19 - 25Apr 23  271°+34° 49 15
Pi PuppidsApril 18-25Apr 23 110°-45°  18



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Highlights

 
  

From a very dark location at that time, look for the Zodiacal Light, a huge soft glowing column of light in the western horizon. It is the light of the Sun reflected off dust particles in the inner solar system. Its axis closely coincides with the ecliptic.

The Lyrids
On April 22 (16-25) the Lyrid meteor shower reaches maximum around 02:00 UT, although the peak is broad enough that the number of meteors should be consistent in the morning twilight. The Lyrids are considered a major shower, but produce a meteor only every 3 to 5 minutes, on average. The Lyrids are named after the constellation of Lyra from which they seem to radiate. 

The Summer Triangle
The morning sky, before dawn, now provides a preview of summer evenings. The Summer Triangle -- VegaDeneb, and Altair -- holds the central position, high in the south. The scorpion sits low to the south and slightly west. Directly to the arachnid's east is Sagittarius, the Archer, and between the two lies the direction toward the Milky Way galaxy's center. The ribbon of soft light that delineates our galaxy flows up from the south, through the Triangle, and then cascades toward the northern horizon.



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