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Post Info TOPIC: April 2008


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This evening, Saturn will be only 2 degrees from the first-magnitude star Regulus in the constellation Leo.

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Earth Day

www.nature.org/earthday/

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Mercury1
Expand (102kb, 560 x 560)
Credit SOHO/NASA

Mercury 16:18 UT, 19th April 2008

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Mercury just passed superior conjunction on April 16, but in the days to come it will bolt out to become easily visible low in the west-northwest at dusk. On Wednesday evening, April 23, Mercury should be visible within about 30 minutes after sunset if your sky is quite clear.
Read more

Image1
21:07 UT, 23rd April 2008

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With spring right around the corner it is the season for auroras. The beautiful and mysterious auroras are spectacular to watch, but they are actually a manifestation of violent space weather. This weather can create big problems here on Earth by disrupting power grids, satellites, air travel and even GPS signals.


While auroras have fascinated observers for centuries, little had been known about their origin. But NASA is aiming to resolve this mystery with a new mission called THEMIS.


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On April 8th, a 12% crescent Moon will be close to the Pleiades star cluster in the western evening sky.
The Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, are a young star cluster the lies 400 light years away.

moon-2008-4-8-23h41m
The event, shortly after sunset (roughly 8:30 P.M. local time), is best viewed through binoculars.
The best location will be in the Americas.
The Moon will set shortly after 11 P.M. local time.

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Comets
46P/Wirtanen
Comet 46P/Wirtanen is brightening as it travels through Pisces this month. The comet passes close to the spiral galaxy NGC 524 on February 4 - 5.
Date    TT    R. A. (2000) Decl.     Delta      r     Elong.  Phase   m1 
2008 04 04 06 05.23 +35 03.0 1.133 1.330 76.9 47.1 11.1
2008 04 09 06 29.90 +35 10.1 1.182 1.368 77.1 45.5 11.4
2008 04 14 06 53.51 +34 59.5 1.235 1.407 77.2 44.0 11.7
2008 04 19 07 15.91 +34 33.6 1.292 1.447 77.0 42.5 12.0
2008 04 24 07 37.05 +33 55.2 1.353 1.488 76.7 41.1 12.2
2008 04 29 07 56.93 +33 06.6 1.418 1.530 76.1 39.7 12.5
8P/Tuttle The comet is starting to fade rapidly....
Date    TT    R. A. (2000) Decl.     Delta      r     Elong.  Phase   m1 
2008 04 04 04 59.55 -60 50.8 1.183 1.435 81.7 43.6 11.5
2008 04 09 05 17.70 -61 35.3 1.208 1.483 83.8 42.2 11.8
2008 04 14 05 37.73 -62 15.1 1.232 1.533 85.9 40.8 12.2
2008 04 19 05 59.62 -62 48.8 1.256 1.583 88.1 39.4 12.5
2008 04 24 06 23.31 -63 14.9 1.280 1.633 90.4 38.0 12.8
2008 04 29 06 48.62 -63 31.4 1.305 1.684 92.6 36.7 13.1
Comet 17P/Holmes

The comet is faint..

Date    TT    R. A. (2000) Decl.     Delta      r     Elong.  Phase   m1 
2008 04 04 04 40.70 +36 41.2 3.496 3.123 60.3 16.1 20.1
2008 04 09 04 48.60 +36 31.9 3.575 3.144 57.0 15.5 20.2
2008 04 14 04 56.59 +36 22.7 3.652 3.166 53.8 14.8 20.3
2008 04 19 05 04.64 +36 13.4 3.728 3.187 50.7 14.1 20.4
2008 04 24 05 12.73 +36 03.9 3.801 3.209 47.5 13.4 20.5
2008 04 29 05 20.85 +35 54.1 3.871 3.230 44.4 12.6 20.6


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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, 5::00 UT, when you could see a maximum of about 15 meteors an hour. A near Full Moon will interfere with the Shower.
The Virginids are active until the 18th, peaking on the 11th with 10 meteors an hour. Unfortunately the light of the nearly Full Moon will also washout most of the meteors.
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

You can listen to them by tuning to the 67 MHz meteor radar in Roswell, NM.

Shower Activity Period Maximum Radiant Velocity ZHR
Date R.A. Dec. km/s
Gamma Virginids Jan 25 to April 15 Apr. 11 195
-04 33 4.6
Lyrids April 19 - 25 Apr22 23 UT 271 +34 49 15
Pi Puppids April 18-25 Apr23 110 -45 18
Yes, click this! for UK (A.Smith)

Radio Meteor Observation Station Track



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