Ephemeris for Monday, April 17th. The Sun rises at 6:54. It’ll be up for 13 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 8:30. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 2:21 tomorrow morning.
The Big Dipper, now nearing the zenith at 10 p.m. points to several stars and constellations. It’s handle points to two bright stars. First we follow the arc of the handle to the bright orange star Arcturus, the 4th brightest night-time star. The reason I say night-time is that the sun is a star also but by definition is not out at night. The arc to Arcturus is a how to find Arcturus and a clue to its name. Arcturus, midway up the sky in the east, lies at the base point of the kite shaped constellation of Boötes the herdsman. From Arcturus, straighten out the arc to a spike and one soon arrives at Spica a blue-white star in Virgo the virgin, now low in the southeast. It is below Jupiter this year. Spica is also sometimes pronounced ‘Speeka’.
The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.