Home > Ephemeris Program, Planets > 04/06/2016 – Ephemeris – Mercury makes its spring appearance in the west – Plus Jovian moon hijinx

04/06/2016 – Ephemeris – Mercury makes its spring appearance in the west – Plus Jovian moon hijinx

April 6, 2016

Ephemeris for Wednesday, April 6th.  The Sun will rise at 7:13.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 3 minutes, setting at 8:17.   The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:30 tomorrow morning.

Let’s check out the whereabouts of the bright naked eye planets.  Mercury is in the west-northwest, very low to the horizon, setting at 9:35 p.m.  Jupiter is in the southeast in the evening, and will pass due south, astronomers call it a transit, at 11:45 p.m., and will set at 6:16 a.m.  It’s below the stars of Leo this year.  Binoculars can make out some of Jupiter’s moons, but a telescope is required to see all four bright moons and Jupiter’s cloud formations.  Mars will rise next at 12:31 a.m. in the east-southeast.  It’s above Scorpius but moved into western Ophiuchus now.  Saturn will rise at 1:06 a.m. in the east-southeast.  It’s just left of Mars.  Its rings are a telescopic treat.  Venus will rise at 6:47 a.m. due east.

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


Evening sky


Mercury appears low in the sky in the west at 8:40 p.m. April 6, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter in the evening

An animation of Jupiter in the night sky with and without lines and captions at 10 p.m., April 6, 2016. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

If you are using Firefox right-click on the image and select View image to enlarge.

Telescopic Jupiter

Jupiter and its moons at 10 p.m. April 6, 2016. It’s going to be busy night with the three closest moons playing tag with Jupiter. See the table of events below. Jupiter appears 43.2″ in diameter.  Created with Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Jovian satellite events overnight

Io and Ganymede will pass in front (transit) the face of Jupiter, while Europa pass behind and be occulted by Jupiter.

Event Date/Time EDT Date/Time UT
Io Transit Starts 6 9:52 p.m. 7 01:52
Io Shadow Crossing Starts 6 10:30 p.m. 7 02:32
Europa Occultation Starts 6 10:48 p.m. 7 02:48
Io Transit Ends 7 12:06 a.m. 7 04:06
Io Shadow Crossing Ends 7 12:47 a.m. 7 04:47
Ganymede Transit Starts 7 1:00 a.m. 7 05:00
Europa Eclipse Ends* 7 2:53 a.m. 7 06:53
Ganymede Shadow Crossing Starts 7 3:44 a.m. 7 07:44
Ganymede Transit Ends 7 4:15 a.m. 7 08:15
Ganymede Shadow Crossing Ends 7 Not up 7 11:00
* When Europa’s occultation ends it will still be in Jupiter’s shadow and will enter sunlight a bit away from the planet.

Timings are from Project Pluto.

Morning sky

Morning planets

Looking south at 6 a.m. at Mars and Saturn in an animation with and without annotations. 6 a.m. April 7, 2017. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.


Mars as seen in a large telescope with high power at 6 a.m., April 7, 2016. Mars apparent diameter 12.7″. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).


Saturn with some of its satellites. Normally only Titan is visible. The disk of Saturn has the apparent diameter of 17.6″ while the rings span 40.9″. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

The planets at sunrise and sunset

Planets at Sunrise and Sunset

This is a chart showing the sunrise and sunset skies for April 6, 2016 showing the location of the planets and the Moon at that time. Created using my LookingUp program.




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