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Post Info TOPIC: April 2009


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RE: April 2009
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Wow! Although I don't think that is a big enough adjective to describe the experience of watching the moon occult, or cover up, the planet Venus last Wednesday morning.
I am not normally a morning astronomer, but this was an event worth watching so I popped up my trusty telescope and had a peek. The moon was an excruciatingly slender crescent almost lost in the blue of the sky just after sunrise and Venus was a very bright dot just to the moon's left.

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L

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In evening dusk, use binoculars to show the family a rare 'celestial trio' low in the west: a young moon with dark Earthshine floats 1 degree above the delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades star cluster) and Mercury reaches its highest altitude three degrees below them.

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"Its dark sky week and there is lots of fascinating stuff going on! Wednesday morning the moon occults the planet Venus just after sunrise (for those of us in the Denver area). The Lyrid meteor shower peaks on Wednesday and Thursday. On Saturday evening you can view or photograph a very thin crescent Moon less than one day old. There are dozen or so comets brighter than magnitude 12. There are hundreds of springtime galaxies and nebulae to track down as well. And best of all, the mosquitoes aren't out just yet and the nights aren't that cold either! "


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L

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When the moon and Venus rise Wednesday morning before dawn, they will be about 1 1/2 degrees apart. The moon will be gradually getting closer to Venus as the pair climbs higher.  Venus will appear to pass below the moon after sunrise Wednesday. The pair should still be observable using binoculars or a small telescope, given a clear sky. You may even spot them with your eyes alone against a clear blue morning sky. (US) West coast observers will see the moon completely cover Venus before sunrise.

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Space rocks, extraterrestrials and bright lights were some of the topics at the 2009 International Year of Astronomy Event, held Saturday at the Tawas Elks Lodge.
But due to cloudy skies, the showcase of the event, DobZilla, a 25-inch Newtonian Dobsonian reflector telescope, stayed packed away this year in its trailer. The scope is owned by the Sunset Astronomical Society (SAS).

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Stargazers will get a treat this week, with the Lyrid meteor showers expected to be especially visible.
The Lyrids are not one of the strongest of the annual meteor showers, but it can be enjoyable for meteor observers thirsting for something after 3-1/2 months of weak meteor activity.


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L

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In our Palm Beach skies Wednesday - very early in the morning - we will have one of the best meteor showers of the year. And the waning crescent moon will have a close encounter with Venus - so close it will cover the planet. It's worth an all-night stargazing soiree, especially if you're lucky enough to be in the countryside where the skies are darkest. If your reality is getting up for work that day, set the alarm for 3 a.m. and catch the best part of the show.
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The monthly stargazing parties are underway at Tecopa Hot Springs Resort every weekend closest to a new moon.
April 24 and 25 stargazers will use a high powered Celestron telescope with a 14 inch mirror to search the skies for star clusters and the nebula, or gas clouds left behind by dying stars and visible as the first expression of a new star being born.

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Picture this: It's 4:30 in the morning, April 22nd, 2009. You're up and out before the sun. Steam rises from your coffee cup, floating up to the sky where a silent meteor streaks through a crowd of stars. A few minutes later it happens again, and again. A meteor shower is underway.
One of the streaks leads to the eastern horizon. There, just above the tree line, Venus and the crescent Moon hover side by side, so close together they almost seem to touch. Suddenly, Venus wavers, winks, and disappears.
All of this is about to happen--for real.

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April 22, 2009 Lyrids Meteor Shower
Lyrid meteors tend to be bright and often leave trails. About 10-20 meteors per hour at peak are to be expected.

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