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    Articles > April 2004
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The Night Sky Planisphere

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  Sky Calendar -- April 2004
2 Moon near Jupiter at 22h UT (evening sky). Jupiter displays the largest and most detailed planetary disk of all the planets. Even a small telescope will reveal Jupiter's cloud bands and its four largest moons (discovered by Galileo in 1610). As of February 2004 Jupiter is known to have a total of 63 satellites.
3 Venus very near the Pleiades at 18h UT (evening sky).
5 Full Moon at 11:03 UT. The full Moon of April is called the "Grass Moon" or "Egg Moon".
8 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 2h UT (distance 364,547 km; angular size 32.8').
9 Moon near Antares at 4h UT (morning sky).
12 Last Quarter Moon at 3:46 UT.
17 Mercury at inferior conjunction at 1h UT (not visible). The planet passes into the morning sky.
19 New Moon at 13:21 UT. Beginning of lunation 1006.
22 Moon near the Pleiades at 2h UT (evening sky).
22 Lyrid meteor shower peaks at 4h UT. The Lyrids are the earliest recorded meteor shower having being observed by Chinese astronomers in 687 B.C. The shower is active between April 16-25, and its radiant is located between Hercules and Lyra. Expect between 10 to 20 bright, fast meteors per hour at its peak.
23 Moon near Venus at 11h UT (43° from Sun, evening sky). Venus near maximum brightness at mag. -4.5.
23 Moon near Mars at 20h UT (evening sky). Mars at mag. +1.6.
24 Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth) at 0h UT (distance 405,403 km; angular size 29.5').
24 Astronomy Day 2004 is celebrated today! Astronomy clubs, planetariums, observatories, and science museums worldwide will offer a variety of public activities including free night sky viewing sessions. See the planets and more!
25 Moon near Saturn at 6h UT (evening sky). Saturn (mag. +0.1) is spectacular viewed through even a small telescope.
27 First Quarter Moon at 17:32 UT.
30 Moon near Jupiter at 5h UT (evening sky).
The Planets: Four of the brightest planets remain visible in the evening sky this month. Venus in Taurus continues its dazzling display in the western sky. Jupiter remains brilliant at just one month past opposition. A small telescope will show Jupiter's clouds and its 4 brightest moons. Saturn is located about mid-way between the stars Castor and Betelgeuse. Its magnificent rings are another easy target for small telescopes. Mars appears as a tiny orange-colored point of light in the constellation Taurus. Finally, elusive Mercury moves into the morning sky.
Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) [Southern Hemisphere only] should brighten from mag. 6 to 3 this month making the comet visible to the unaided eye under dark skies. The April 2004 Southern Hemisphere sky map shows the location of Comet NEAT at 0h UT for each day of the month. If necessary, use binoculars to find the comet in the southern sky.
All times Universal Time (UT). (USA Eastern Summer Time = UT ­ 4 hours)

Clear skies till next month!

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