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TOPIC: April 2010


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RE: April 2010
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Tonight will be a good opportunity to see Mars and the Beehive star cluster (Praesepe), in the constellation Cancer. A new moon on the 12th means that the sky will be dark to observe deep-sky objects.
Mars and the Beehive are closest together in the sky on the 16th April, when they can be both be observed within the same binocular field of view.

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venuspli240410.gif

Planet Venus near to the Pleiades star cluster
17:24 UT, 24th April 2010
Magnitude: -3.9
Diameter: 11.3 "
Illuminated Fraction: 0.904
Phase: 36
Distance: 1.4922 AU
Solar Distance: 0.7193 AU

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venusMercuryMoon.gif

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Of local events, the planet Mercury, often hidden by the Suns glare, puts in a rare appearance in the western sky just after sunset on the 8th. (The Romans called it Mercury, the swift messenger of the gods, because it appeared to move against the background sky faster than any other planet.) Venus, appearing in the same place, is far more brilliant. Saturn, with its rings very slightly open, is visible all night in Virgo.
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venusmer080410.gif

Venus and Mercury at 20:30 GMT, 8th April, 2010.

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With the National Astronomy Day, April 24, falling this month, there is an interesting lineup of events to spot the stellar planetary assembly - with the heavenly field being dominated by Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter - as well as stray meteors.
While Venus will be the dazzling "star" in the west of the sky during the next few days, the somewhat dim Mercury will be at its highest point away from the sun on the night of April 8.

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In a rare celestial event, five planets are going to make an appearance in the sky providing an astronomical delight to gazers. The spectacle which already started unfolding in the third week of March, is likely to continue till October.
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