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TOPIC: April 2010


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Showa Day is a Japanese annual holiday held on April 29. The purpose of the holiday is to encourage public reflection on the turbulent 63 years of Emperor (Showa) Hirohito's reign.
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Titan is positioned four ring-length east of Saturn on the 26th April, 2010.

titan3.gif


-- Edited by Blobrana on Sunday 25th of April 2010 11:16:31 PM

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In the south-east is Leo, and just by Leo's tail you will spot Saturn, a beautiful site with the rings showing nicely. Above Leo is our favourite signpost, the Plough (Ursa Major). Follow the pointers past Draco's tail to the tip of the little bears tail (Ursa Minor), which is Polaris (the pole star), and follow the handle down to Arcturus, the brightest star in Bootes the herdsman who is now due east. Finally, in the north-east you will see Hercules rising. The Moon is new on the 14th and full on the 28th. The aurora has been very quiet as of late, but sun spot activity is on the increase.

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_47688269_lyrids_meteor_shower466.gif

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The Lyrids Meteor shower beings on April 16, and peaks on the 22nd of April. If you are an amateur astronomer like me or a serious astronomer, you won't mind staying up to watch the Lyrids Meteor shower that will peak at 2:00 am on April 22, 2010.
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Alpha-Virginids meteor shower peaks on the 18th April, 2010.

ZHR=5.0
Velocity=20.1km/s

Radiant: RA=12.4h/185 Dec=9.6 (J2000) (in constellation Virgo)

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mercury-2010-4-15-20h02m.gif

Venus and Mercury at 20:01 GMT, 15th April, 2010.

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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 21 (16-25) The Lyrid meteor shower reaches maximum around midnight tonight, although the peak is broad enough that the number of meteors should be consistent until morning twilight. Although the Lyrids are considered a major shower, they produce a meteor only every 3 to 5 minutes, on average. The near New Moon won't compete with the shower. The Lyrids are named after the constellation of Lyra from which they seem to radiate. deep-sky objects to have been recorded by the ancients, being mentioned by Aristotle around 325 BC.

The Summer Triangle
The morning sky, before dawn, now provides a preview of summer evenings. The Summer Triangle -- Vega, Deneb, 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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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.
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




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