Welcome to the April/May edition of El Cielo for 2020, highlighting some interesting astronomical happenings above the Cape region of BCS. Keep this list close at hand and enjoy the sky.
This year, the Lyrids, our April meteor shower, is supposed to peak during the early morning hours of the 22nd, and there will be no moon to interfere. If you have the opportunity and energy, go outside about midnight and stay for a while… The meteor shower in early May, the Eta Aquariids (with its radiant in Aquarius), however, will be basically washed out by a full moon. It is supposed to peak on May 7th, but probably won’t be worth any extra effort. Remember, April is always a good month to see the constellation Crux better known as the “Southern Cross and the lovely globular cluster, Omega Centauri, basically just above it. You will need a clear night and a location with a low southern horizon. The best locations would be a beach with a clear southern horizon or the top of a hill. Binoculars or a telescope bring Omega Centauri to life.
3 – Venus will be passing in front of the Pleiades, a good chance to check them both out.
5 –Daylight Savings time starts here in Mexico.
14 & 15 – Before sunrise, in the east… Jupiter will pass by Jupiter and Saturn these days, closer to Jupiter on the 14th and between and below both planets on the 15th.
20 & 21 – before dawn, a waning crescent moon will rise in the east.
22 – Peak of Lyrid meteor shower morning of the 22nd.
23 – New moon possible (try with binoculars).
26 – Venus in the sunset with the new crescent moon.
2 – The moon is passing through Leo, near the bright star Regulus.
7 – The peak of the Eta Aquariid meteor shower and the full moon.
12 – Jupiter and Saturn are passing very close together from our vantage point. They are joined by the moon on the 12th, and then they keep approaching each other until 17 May.
20 & 21 – Waning crescent moon in the sunrise.
23 – The new moon, Venus and Mercury will be together in the sunset, but you might need binoculars to see them. Let me know if you do.
Around the end of May, there is a possibility of a binocular bright comet gracing our skies with the name C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS). It was just identified a couple of months ago by an automated sky survey system looking for potentially hazardous asteroids, and it is supposed to reach mag 3 or 4 around the end of May. It is well positioned in the northern sky and up high in the evening, so all we will need is clear skies and probably binoculars to see a bit of a show. Comets move quickly, so probably the best bet is to look up its name on the internet to locate a finder chart for the day/night you will be looking for it. After the 23rd will be good as there won’t be much moonlight to interfere, and even by the 29st just a quarter moon that should set by 1:30 AM.
For more information, check out the web links below, call me on my cell phone 612 348 5468, or visit my office in Plaza Antigua – upstairs, unit #9 - Pescadero Properties,
Links of interest:
Comets - http://www.aerith.net/index.html
Meteor Showers - http://www.imo.net/calendar/2018
Tropic of Cancer – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_tilt#values or
Zodiacal Light - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zodiacal_light
Time - http://www.time.gov/ and http://www.worldtimeserver.com/
Satellites - http://www.heavens-above.com/ user “elcielots” password “journal”
Weekly Sky Report - http://www.griffithobs.org/skyreport.html
Saturn – http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm
Rosetta – http://sci.esa.int/rosetta/
Dawn - http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/
New Horizons - http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/newhorizons/main/
All Things Astronomical – http://www.calsky.com User “elcielots” password “journal”