These notes are intended to provide a casual sky watcher or someone already into amateur astronomy living in Eastern Australia with a summary of what is happening in the night sky in April 2013. The finder charts have been produced for an observer based in Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) but will be useful for observers elsewhere in Eastern Australia.
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Planets for April 2013
All times AEST
Jupiter is easy to locate as soon as evening twilight ends above the North West horizon all month. On 1 April, Saturn rises around 7.13 pm and rises around 5.13 pm at the end of April. At the start of April, Mercury is easily visible above the Eastern horizon before the start of morning twilight. By the end of the month, Mercury’s orbital motion has carried it back towards the morning glare of the Sun. Neptune is located in the morning sky above the Eastern horizon. Uranus starts April lost in the glare of morning twilight but by the end of the month is high enough to point a telescope at. Keep in mind however that both Uranus and Neptune only appear as tiny discs under high magnification in a telescope. Venus remains close to the Sun and is not visible all month.
Individual sky events (April 2013)
All times AEST unless otherwise stated.
1 April 2013: 8 am Mercury at greatest elongation West (27.8 degrees). Very easy to see in the morning sky above the Eastern horizon just prior to start of morning twilight.
2 April 2013: Mercury at aphelion
3 April 2013: 2:37 pm Last Quarter Moon
10 April 2013: 7:35 pm New Moon
13 April 2013: 5 am Pluto stationary
14 – 15 April 2013: Moon passes Jupiter. As twilight ends, look low above the North Western horizon.
16 April 2013: 8 am Moon at apogee (located 404, 862 km from Earth in its orbit)
18 April 2013: 10 am Mars in conjunction in Sun
18 April 2013: 10:31 pm First Quarter Moon
22 April 2013: Mercury at greatest latitude South
22 April 2013: Lyrid meteor shower peaks at 9.30 pm AEST. Unfortunately, the radiant (the point at which meteors appear to radiate from) is below the horizon as seen from Eastern Australia at this time. If you live in Australia, your best chance of seeing meteors from the Lyrid meteor shower is to get up early Wednesday morning (23 April 2013) and look then. Lie on your back with your feet pointing to the North. Look for meteors moving away from the radiant point located to the left of and below the star Vega (see above chart).
24 April 2013: 8:12 pm Watch the launch of the 51st Progress cargo robotic spacecraft lift off from Kazakhstan to resupply the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Launch date and time accurate at 17 March 2013. Subject to change.
26 April 2013: 5:57 am Full Moon
26 April 2013: Partial Lunar Eclipse. The eclipse is not visible from Eastern Australia due to the interference of morning twilight. Keen Western Australian residents will be able to see the eclipse however. Mid eclipse is at 4.07 am WST.
28 April 2013: 6 am Moon at perigee (located at 362,268 km from Earth in its orbit)
28 April 2013: 6 pm Saturn at opposition (it will rise as the Sun sets). To locate Saturn, look above the Eastern horizon for a pale yellow bright star. See above finder chart.
For Further Information
Customised Astronomy & Satellite Viewing information
Information on how to obtain customised astronomy & satellite viewing information for your location can be found here on this website.
The information in this post has been prepared using the following references.
Astronomy 2013, Quasar Publishing http://www.quasarastronomy.
Sky Safari Pro Ipad app, http://www.southernstars.com/