What’s Up April 2012

The New Moon in the Old Moon's Arms, Image Credit & Copyright: M. Taha Ghouchkanlu

Image Credit & Copyright: M. Taha Ghouchkanlu

There’s plenty of planets to see after sunset; this month, Saturn joins the party!

Venus and Jupiter are no longer as close as they were in early March, but seeing them both in the western sky after sunset is still a treat.

Meanwhile, the red planet Mars is unmistakably bright, high up in the southeast at nightfall. To its upper right are Regulus and the stars of Leo.

Even farther to the left, just above the eastern horizon, you’ll find two bright stars side by side. The slightly brighter one on the left is the planet Saturn. To its right is the star Spica. They are nearly equal in brightness, but Saturn is creamy colored while Spica is icy white.
Sky and Telescope

The next Full Moon is on the 6th, and the next New Moon is on the 21st.

The International Space Station and various satellites can be tracked and viewed at Heavens-Above.com (link is set for Mt. Shasta’s location and elevation.)

For a full list of sky happenings this month, as well as a handy printable map, download The Evening Sky Map. (Translations to other languages are not currently supported, but they hope to have them back sometime in 2012.)

Hi! I’m Danielle Signor, MSCoC’s webmaster. I witnessed two out of three of the last space shuttle launches in the program: Discovery in February 2011, as part of the STS-133 NASA Tweetup event; and Atlantis in July 2011 (STS-135). Find me on Twitter at @silverrockets, and check out my blog at Silver-Rockets.com.