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03/31/2015 – Ephemeris – Previewing April skies

March 31, 2015

Ephemeris for Tuesday, March 31st.  The Sun will rise at 7:25.  It’ll be up for 12 hours and 42 minutes, setting at 8:08.   The Moon, half way from first quarter to full, will set at 6:02 tomorrow morning.

The 4th month of the year begins tomorrow.  Daylight hours in the Interlochen/Traverse City area and will increase from 12 hours and 45 minutes tomorrow to 14 hours 11 minutes on the 30th.  The altitude, or angle, of the sun above the southern horizon at local noon will be 50 degrees tomorrow and will ascend to 60 degrees on the 30th.  The altitude of the Sun in the Straits area will be a degree lower.  The actual time of local apparent noon this month for the Interlochen/Traverse City area, when the sun passes due south, will be about 1:43 p.m.  For the straits area local noon occurs about 4 minutes earlier.  This Saturday morning we’ll see the first part of a lunar eclipse.  This month Venus and Jupiter are our evening planets.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


April Star Chart

Star Chart for April 2015. Created using my LookingUp program.

The Moon is not plotted.  The planets and stars are plotted for the 15th at 10 p.m. EDT.  That is chart time.

Evening Astronomical twilight ends at 9:51 p.m. EDT on April 1st, increasing to 10:42 p.m. EDT on the 30th.

Morning astronomical twilight starts at 5:43 a.m. EDT on April 1st, and decreasing to 4:41 a.m. EDT on the 30th.

Add a half hour to the chart time every week before the 15th and subtract and hour for every week after the 15th.

For a list of constellation names to go with the abbreviations click here.

The green pointer from the Big Dipper is:

  • Pointer stars at the front of the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris the North Star.
  • Drill a hole in the bowl of the Big Dipper and the water will drip on the back of Leo the Lion.
  • Follow the arc of the Big Dipper’s handle to Arcturus
    • Continue with a spike to Spica

Calendar of Planetary Events

Credit:  Sky Events Calendar by Fred Espenak and Sumit Dutta (NASA’s GSFC)

To generate your own calendar go to http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SKYCAL/SKYCAL.html

Times are Eastern Daylight Time on a 24 hour clock.  Some additions made to aid clarity.

Conjunctions like the Moon-Saturn: 2.3° S means Saturn will appear 2.3° south of the Moon.

Apr 01 We Venus: 36.6° E
01 We 08:59 Moon Apogee: 406000 km
03 Fr 23:17 Moon Ascending Node
04 Sa 08:01 Partial Lunar Eclipse*
04 Sa 08:06 Full Moon
06 Mo 09:48 Uranus Conjunction
08 We 09:08 Moon-Saturn: 2.3° S
08 We 10:16 Jupiter-Beehive: 5.4° S
09 Th 23:52 Mercury Superior Conj.
10 Fr 03:46 Moon South Dec.: 18.2° S
11 Sa 11:30 Venus-Pleiades: 2.6° S
11 Sa 23:44 Last Quarter
16 Th 23:53 Moon Perigee: 361000 km
17 Fr 09:07 Moon Descending Node
18 Sa 14:57 New Moon
21 Tu 12:35 Moon-Aldebaran: 0.9° S
21 Tu 14:09 Moon-Venus: 6.8° N
22 We 19:21 Lyrid Shower: ZHR = 20
22 We 19:26 Moon North Dec.: 18.3° N
25 Sa 19:55 First Quarter
28 Tu 23:55 Moon Apogee: 405100 km
30 Th 21:29 Mercury-Pleiades: 1.7° S

* For the Grand Traverse area the partial phase of the eclipse will begin at 6:15 a.m.  The eclipse will be interrupted by the moon setting at 7:24 a.m.  Sunrise will occur at 7:17 a.m.  More information will be provided in the Thursday, April 2nd post.

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