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SKY HAPPENINGS

Moab UT (at City Hall)
38O34’ N Latitude 109O33’ W Longitude
4048 ft - 1234 m

The Sky for April 2014
By Faylene Roth

 

Sunrise-Sunset
For April 2014

DATE

SUNRISE

SUNSET

1

7:03am

7:42pm

2

7:01am

7:43pm

3

7:00am

7:44pm

4

6:58am

7:45pm

5

6:57am

7:45pm

6

6:55am

7:46pm

7

6:54am

7:47pm

8

6:52am

7:48pm

9

6:51am

7:49pm

10

6:49am

7:50pm

11

6:48am

7:51pm

12

6:46am

7:52pm

13

6:45am

7:53pm

14

6:44am

7:54pm

15

6:42am

7:55pm

16

6:41am

7:56pm

17

6:39am

7:57pm

18

6:38am

7:58pm

19

6:36am

7:59pm

20

6:35am

8:00pm

21

6:34am

8:01pm

22

6:32am

8:02pm

23

6:31am

8:03pm

24

6:30am

8:04pm

25

6:28am

8:04pm

26

6:27am

8:05pm

27

6:26am

8:06pm

28

6:25am

8:07pm

29

6:23am

8:08pm

30

6:22am

8:09pm

Follow the arc of the Big Dipper’s handle 25° SE to Arcturus (Boötes). Continue 30° S to Spica (Virgo). Circle back to the handle passing through Regulus (Leo) about 45° NW beyond Spica. Find the ecliptic by tracing a line from Jupiter (Gemini) to Regulus (Leo), Mars (Virgo), Spica (Virgo), and Saturn (Libra).

DAYLENGTH
The rapid march towards long summer days continues this month. The increase in period of daylight averages 2-1/2 minutes per day providing an additional 71 minutes of daylight by month’s end. On April 18, when the sun rises at 6:38am, we will have regained the hour of morning sunlight lost in the switch to daylight time on March 9,

Twilight extends the period of daylight in three stages at each end of the day. Morning twilight begins with astronomical twilight—about 1-1/2 hours (nearly 2 during summer months) before sunrise—as the eastern horizon brightens. Nautical twilight continues—as the overhead sky turns blue and color returns to the surrounding landscape—for another 30-40 minutes. The final stage—civil twilight—provides adequate light for most outdoor activities for the half hour before the sun crests the horizon. The opposite progression occurs after sunset.

MOON HAPPENINGS
April 7– First Quarter Moon brightens western sky until after midnight.
April 15– Full Moon rises on April 14 at 7:36pm and occurs on April 15 at 1:42am.
April 22– Last Quarter Moon rises several hours after midnight.
April 29– New Moon occurs at 12:14am.
(The time of moonrise and moonset assumes a flat horizon. Actual time may vary.)

LUNAR ECLIPSE
A total lunar eclipse occurs around midnight on the night of the full moon, April 14/15. The eclipsing moon sometimes presents a reddened face during totality which happens as sunlight on the day-side of the Earth filters through the atmosphere and casts a dim light on the moon. The amount of dust and particles suspended in the atmosphere—as with sunrises and sunsets—determines how red the eclipsed moon appears. Surrounding the moon are: Spica (Virgo) 2° W, Mars 9° NW, and Saturn 25° E.

Moonrise 7:36pm (April 14)
Moon enters penumbra 10:52pm
Moon enters umbra 11:58pm
Moon enters totality 1:06am (April 15)
Middle of eclipse 1:45am
Moon leaves totality 2:25am
Moon leaves umbra 3:33am
Moon leaves penumbra 4:39am
Moonset 6:52am

ALPENGLOW
Canyon Country manifests its own version of alpenglow on the high desert walls and alpine peaks and in high cirrus clouds. Long wavelengths of red and orange light project high into the sky after sunset. Light reflected off water and dust particles in the atmosphere intensifies the vivid reds, pinks and purples of the local rocks.

Primary Sources: USGS; U.S. Naval Observatory; Your Sky at http://www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky/
To find out when the space shuttle and International Space Station are visible from your location,
go to: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/index.html and click on Sighting Opportunities.

METEOR EVENTS
Best time to view any meteor event is between midnight and morning twilight when the radiant is overhead. Shower Peak
(April)
Range
(April)
Constellation Radiant Rate
(/Hr)
Details Conditions
(After Midnight)

Lyrids 21-22 20-23 Hercules/Lyra 10-15 Bright dust trails Quarter
Moon
Fireballs 14-30 14-30 None - Long-lasting trails Waning Moon
Trace the path of any meteor backwards through the sky to reach its radiant--the region of the sky from which meteors appear to originate.

VISIBLE PLANETS
Jupiter- Look for Jupiter in the western evening sky about 7° W of Gemini’s twin stars Castor and Pollux. Jupiter rises before noon and sets soon after midnight. Sirius, the Dog Star (Canis Major)—brightest apparent magnitude star in the northern hemisphere—shines about 30° S of Jupiter. On April 7 a first quarter moon appears about 6° above Jupiter. (Magnitude -2.0)

Mars- Look for Mars in the eastern evening sky as twilight darkens. Its reddish orb contrasts with blue-tinged Spica (Virgo) about 7° SE of Mars. On April 8 Mars reaches opposition (opposite side of Earth from the Sun) and shines at its brightest for the next two years. (Magnitude peaks at -1.5 on April 8)

Saturn- Watch Saturn rise in the late evening sky in Libra, then catch it again in the western sky as twilight brightens the morning sky. On April 17 it appears within 0.5° of the waning full moon. (Magnitude +0.8)

Venus- Catch sight of Venus as morning twilight spreads across the eastern sky. A high vantage point may be necessary. On the mornings of May 25-26 look for Venus within 10° of a waning quarter moon. (Magnitude -4.1)

Note: Apparent magnitude values range from -4 to +6 for most planets and visible stars. The lower the value the brighter the object. A decrease of 1.0 magnitude is 2.5 times brighter.

MAJOR CONSTELLATIONS this MONTH


Overhead
Ursa Minor
Ursa Major
Leo
Hydra

Eastward
Boötes
Virgo

Westward
Auriga
Gemini
Orion
Canis Major


Hold the star chart high above your head and match the compass directions to the direction you are facing. Adjust the star chart by orienting Ursa Major (Big Dipper) to match its position in the sky.

The star chart approximates the sky from astronomical twilight to midnight. As the night and month progresses, the constellations shift toward the northwest. The celestial equator is measured in hours (h). The ecliptic is measured in degrees

Note: Hold your hand at arm’s length to measure apparent distances in the sky. The width of the little finger approximates 1.5̊. Middle, ring, and little finger touching represent about 5̊. The width of a fist is about 10̊. The fist with the thumb extended at a right angle equals 15̊. The hand stretched from thumb to little finger approximates 20̊-25̊. The diameter of both the full moon and the sun spans only 0.5̊. Adjust for the size of your hand.

 
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