I grew up in the Bronx during the 1960s and 1970s, and one of my astronomy mentors was Dr. Kenneth L. Franklin, Chairman and Chief Scientist at Hayden Planetarium in New York, who has written about celestial events for the World Almanac and The New York Times.
Kane was periodically referring to the “dynamic and ever-changing sky”. Such an eloquent description surely fits the daily changes between the planets in the early morning sky this month. The morning planets are front and center in April, with four out of the five being the brightest Planets of the solar systemlined up across the eastern and southeastern sky.
If you need some gear to see the pre-dawn planets in April, check out our guides The best telescopes And the best binoculars To find the right tool for you for your next skywatching event. If you want to take pictures of planets, here are our tips for The best cameras for astrophotography And the Best lenses for astrophotography.
First week of April
The month begins with three bright planets clustered low in the eastern and southeastern sky just before sunrise. VenusAnd the Saturn And the Mars Six degrees from class, but every morning after that the composition changes significantly. Mars and Saturn are getting closer to each other than the apparent diameter of the moon on April 5.
Then, starting on April 8, Jupiter, is still buried deep in the dawn with the beginning of the month, making its presence felt, albeit far to the left and to the left of the other three planets. By the morning of April 19, the four planets will be stretched into a diagonal line extending just over 30 degrees; From bottom left to top right: Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn.
The moon joins too
The main event comes during the last week of April as -2 strength Jupiter approaches -4 strength Venus, seven times brighter. Meanwhile, the crescent moon looms, passing Saturn on April 25, Mars on April 26, and finally Jupiter and Venus on April 27. Make sure you have a wide open view of the east and southeast horizon that morning without any obstructions. The alarm clock is at 5:15 a.m.
With one look, you’ll see the three brightest objects in the night sky: a crescent moon that’s 12% bright, Jupiter 4 degrees in its upper left, and Venus hovering five degrees just above the lunar sliver. Venus and Jupiter separated by 3.2 degrees that morning, 2 degrees on April 28, and 1.3 degrees on April 29.
On April 30, Venus and Jupiter stand side by side, separated by 0.45 degrees for North America and can be seen together in the telescope’s low to medium energy view. Jupiter will appear round, three of the four Galilean moons will be visible and Venus will appear to be a little more than half lit.
The Far East sees it near the moments of conjunction and stupor (closest approach) when Venus passes 0.25 degrees north of Jupiter. This is the closest conjunction of Jupiter since August 2016, when they were deeper in the glare of the Sun. A similarly spectacular conjunction of these two planets will occur in the evening sky on March 1, 2023.
Breaking up is a hard thing to do
The epilogue that followed on April 30 is fast. On May 1, the two planets were still strikingly close, separated by 0.6 degrees and this would increase by about one degree per day, so that Jupiter would shine 7.1 degrees to the top right of Venus by May 8.
In the coming months, the brightest of the two planets will go in completely different ways. Venus will continue embracing the low dawn edge in the east until August, then slowly sink into the sunrise. By then, Jupiter will be on the other side of the sky, dominating the evening views.
All planets with the naked eye and the moon Also, closely follow an imaginary line in the sky called the ecliptic. The eclipse is also the apparent path that the Sun appears to take across the sky as a result of the Earth’s revolution around it.
Technically speaking, the ecliptic is an extension or projection of the plane of the Earth’s orbit toward the sky. But since the Moon and the planets move in orbits whose planes are not very different from the orbit of the Earth, these bodies, when visible in our sky, always remain relatively close to the ecliptic.
twelve of constellations through which the ecliptic passes form the zodiac circle; Their easily identifiable names on standard star charts are familiar to millions of zodiac users who would be hard-pressed to find them in the actual sky.
Archaic humans may have noticed the fact that planets – resembling bright stars – were free to roam in the sky, while other “fixed” stars remained rooted in their positions. This ability to move seemed almost magical, like a property of God. The evidence for the association of the planets with the gods lies in their very names that represent the ancient gods.
Skywatchers for thousands of years must have concluded that if the motions of the planets were of any importance, it should be to inform those who could read the celestial signs of what fates had in store. Indeed, to this day, there are those who firmly believe that the changing positions of the Sun, Moon and planets can have a decisive influence on the fates of individuals and nations on Earth.
The only problem with this theory is that the planets in the night sky are always moving in and out of celestial relationships. Astronomical amnesia allows us to forget the last time we saw them gather for such a performance.
We also often fail to remember that none of the effective magical thinking attributed to a previous event was ever achieved.
Joe Rao is a teacher and guest lecturer in New York Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Journal of Natural HistoryThe Farmers’ calendar and other publications. Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed and on Facebook.
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