Click on the monthly image to get a larger high resolution view of the night sky set for 53° N (Horncastle, England) but is usable for the UK and Eire. All charts are set for the 1st of the month at 22:00 GMT (10pm) and can be used on the other dates and times shown in each corner of the chart.
Solar System quick summary
For most charts see the buttons at the top for various planets etc.. Charts & images in the text can be clicked to give a larger view.
Mars is now the only bright planet in the evening sky passing between M45 and Aldebaran but it is gradually losing to the encroaching evening twilight. Minor planet Pallas now comes to opposition on the 10th and so is viewable all night. Ceres is next up followed by Jupiter, then Saturn, all of which lie in the morning sky. Venus languishes in the bright morning twilight rising not long before the sun whilst Vesta, Mercury and Uranus are not viewable, lost in the solar glare. Neptune might be viewable in the bright morning twilight using binoculars or small telescopes as it’s close to mag 4.4 Phi Aqr at the end of the month. The moon lies very close to the Beehive cluster M44 and Delta Cancri on the 13th. The April Lyrids meteor shower peaks on the 23rd but moonlight will spoil them.
Mars dominates the evening sky after twilight and moves up past the Pleiades, M45 star cluster lying between it and Aldebaran on the 4th/5th. It is moving almost parallel to the ecliptic and the thick crescent moon (show 3x normal size) joins the scene briefly over 3 days. The moon lies below Mars and forms a kite shape with it, M45 and Aldebaran on the 8th, next evening the moon lies above Aldebaran with Mars to their right then on the 10th the moon lies very close to Zeta Tauri. The view at left is set for ~ 10:30pm when the sky is darker looking roughly W to WNW. In the meantime Mars moves up and lies close to Kappa1 on the 12th and Upsilon on the 13th. It is technically in conjunction with Aldebaran on the 16th and lies close to Tau Tauri on the 18th. Mars carries on, ending the month forming a triangle with Zeta and Beta Tauri, the two horn tips of Taurus the Bull.
Minor planet Pallas is well placed to view this month not far from the bright star Arcturus in Bootes. It comes to opposition on the 10th and lies very close to Eta Bootis that evening. It is viewable in 7x50 binoculars but, regardless of instrument used, it will always look like a ‘star’ as it is a tiny object compared with the main planets. On opposition night it shines at mag 7.9 compared with mag 2.7 for Eta Bootis so you won’t get them mixed up! Pallas is retrograding but climbing higher in the sky so it remains well placed to view until September. Meanwhile it lies close to 6 Bootis (mag 5) on the 20th then on the 29th/30th close to 2 Bootis (mag 5.7).
April 13th in the evening twilight finds our moon close to the Beehive cluster, M44 (left). The view here shows the moon every hour from 9pm as it glides south past the cluster ending at midnight when it will be above Delta Cancri. Moonlight will washout most of the fainter stars of the cluster but it is still worth watching our nearest neighbour as the clockwork nature of its orbit carries it past the cluster and above Delta. Note the stars of the cluster are shown through the moon to show their positions.
As the wo gas giant planets of Jupiter and Saturn dominate the morning sky before twilight begins they are worth watching if you are an early morning person. Jupiter is stationary on the 10th and after this it begins to retrograde against the backdrop of stars. It rises mid month just before 1:30am and it can be found near to 51 Ophiuchi and the moon joins it on the 23rd. The moon lies to the left of Jupiter, close to M8 and M20 the next morning, although the brightness of the moon will likely drown out the two objects. On the 25th/26th the moon lies either side of Saturn and is underneath the ‘Teaspoon’ asterism on the 25th. Note that the moon shown above is 5x normal size. The chart is set looking SSE at 4am.
The April Lyrids meteor shower peaks on the 23rd in the early morning. Unfortunately the Moon is rising shortly after midnight so will spoil the view. However the moon won’t get very high so with the radiant at around 60° high by 3am it might still be worth looking out for them. Note, the chart at right shows the radiant moves slowly towards Lyra and slightly below Vega from Hercules from April 15th to 25th. It is perhaps a little ironic that most of the time the radiant actually lies in Hercules since the formalisation and adoption of the IAU constellation boundaries!
Also look out for the following:
2nd Crescent moon lies below Venus in bright morning twilight (difficult)
10th Venus close to Neptune (difficult in bright morning twilight)
11th Mercury at GEW with Venus to its right (Difficult in morning twilight)
12th First Quarter moon forms shallow triangle with Pollux and Castor (evening)
14th Moon lies to the right of Regulus (evening)
15th Moon lies to the left of Regulus (evening)
18th Moon sets whilst close to Porrima in Virgo (morning twilight)
22nd Moon lies near Graffias and above Antares (morning)
Clear skies and happy sky watching.
Webmaster © Paul L Money 2019
The UK & Ireland Night Sky for 2019
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