Southern Cross Stargazer for April 13-19

04/12/2014 12:00 AM

04/12/2014 10:41 PM

Sunday

By nightfall the delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades star cluster) lead Taurus, Bull lower in the west. Ruddy Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). Gigantic Orion, Hunter, aims toward the Bull. Orion’s Big Dog trots across the southwest, trailed by the Pups in the south. Sirius, the brilliant blue eye, sparkles in the Big Dog. Procyon, Little Dog follows Orion.

Bright Jupiter glows in Gemini west of zenith. Four closest satellite moons dance around the storm-banded King of the Planets.

The Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux, follow westbound Jupiter. The dim Beehive cluster twinkles overhead. Leo, Lion, crawls onto the zenith. The Big Dipper hangs in the north. Its bowl always faces Polaris, North Star. The tip of the Little Dipper’s handle is Polaris. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer across the northwest. Ruddy Arcturus, Herdsman, rises in the northeast.

The bright moon leads fiery Mars higher in the east. In telescopes, dark, subtle markings and the receding white ice cap are visible on the martian surface. Corvus, Crow, flies higher in the southeast. About 10:30 p.m., silver Saturn rises in the southeast in Libra.

Monday

Mars glows in the east by end of evening twilight. Every 2 1/2 years, Mars cruises closest to Earth. Tonight Mars will pass 57.4 million miles from Earth, its closest until 2016.

Tuesday

A total lunar eclipse will occur between 2 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. The Easter Moon becomes full at 3:42 a.m. The lunar surface will turn shades of dark red as Earth’s shadow slowly crosses the lunar surface.

The darkest phase (totality) occurs from 3 to 4 a.m. Stunning visual views and with binoculars, telescopes and cameras.

In the predawn, brilliant Venus glows low in the southeast. Huge Scorpius crawls across the south closely followed by the Sagittarian Teapot. Saturn glows in the southwest. Mars and Spica drift into the west. The Big Dipper swings low in the northwest.

Arcturus sparkles in the west. Hercules leads Vega and the Summer Triangle to the zenith. Cygnus, Swan soars within the Triangle.

Friday

No April Southern Cross program at FIU.

Saturday

MarsWatch: 8 p.m. at Bill Sadowski Park, Southwest 176 Street, west of Old Cutler Road, Palmetto Bay. No lights, litter, alcohol or pets allowed in the park.

Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org

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