Southern Colorado Skies / April 15-21, 2018

Consider a planetarium program to help you plan your observations. There are many commercial products available; an excellent program (STELLARIUM) is available free at http://www.stellarium.org/.

THIS WEEK

About mid-week the crescent Moon makes a passage by Venus, which in turn makes a passage near the Pleiades star cluster (M45), as shown in the following graphic.

Sunday (April 15)

New Moon at 7:57 p.m. MDT.

Tuesday (April 17)

The thin crescent Moon may be seen near Venus shortly after sunset in the west, as shown in the above graphic.

Wednesday (April 18)

Look for the crescent Moon just above and left (east) of the Pleiades star cluster (M45), as shown in the above graphic.

Saturday (April 21)

The Lyrid meteor shower occurs tonight – the best time is after midnight (the Moon will set about 2 a.m.). About a dozen meteors per hour are expected under excellent sky conditions.

DAYLIGHT

PLANETS

Mercury (in Pisces)

Hidden in the Sun’s glare this week.

Venus (in Aries)

Look for Venus low on the western horizon shortly after sunset. The Pleiades star cluster (M45) hangs out just above Venus, as shown in the above graphic.

Mars and Saturn (both in Sagittarius)

Both planets rise about 1:00 a.m. and are in good viewing position well before dawn, above the “teapot” in Sagittarius.

Mars is fairly bright now, but it will be getting brighter over the next few months as it gets to opposition (on a line extending outward from the Sun through the Earth) in late July. At that time Mars will be brighter than at any time since 2003, and almost twice as bright as Jupiter.

Jupiter (in Libra)

Jupiter rises just after dark and dominates the southern sky for the rest of the night. It is getting close to opposition (May 8th) and is now about as bright and big as will all year.

Uranus (in Pisces) and Neptune (in Aquarius)

Both planets are now lost in the glare of the Sun.

BRIGHT IRIDIUM FLARES

The following data are based on my location in Pueblo West, Colorado. If you live well outside this area, you should consider checking this information for your location in order to be assured of accurate times, elevations, etc. If you’re unfamiliar with Iridium flares, check out my short article at: http://scaspueblo.com/blog/2017/02/25/iridium-flares/.

Tuesday (April 17) 8:08:20 p.m. / Magnitude -1.8 / N / Elevation 37 degrees

 

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)

These are too numerous to list here! If you’re seriously interested, load the ISS DETECTOR or HEAVENS-ABOVE app on your smart phone or tablet.

Carpe noctem

Dave Furry

Pueblo West, Colorado

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