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Watch the Moon find planets stars constellations easily Apr 1-15 2014

April 1-3, 2014 sky chart
April 1-3, 2014 sky chart
D. Tondreau

In the next two weeks the Moon will be in the early evening sky making it convenient to find Jupiter and Mars. The Moon will pass though the constellations Aries, Taurus, and Gemini, Cancer, Leo, and Virgo. The Moon will also pass by the bright stars Aldebaran, Rigel, Betelgeuse, Sirius, Procyon, Pollux, Castor, Capella, Arcturus, Regulus, and Spica. Note: This is based on information for Aurora, CO (Mountain Time), but is close enough for use in other locations unless noted.

The best time to observe the Moon is 30 to 60 minutes after sunset unless otherwise noted.

April 1-7: The waxing (gets bigger) crescent phases. The Moon starts off as a very thin crescent on the western horizon near the setting Sun. Over the next five days the crescent will thicken and the Moon will move easterly away from the setting Sun to the south. See if you can predict the phase and location change of the Moon from day to day.

On April 1 A thin Crescent Moon will be in the west in the constellation Aries. There are no bright stars in Aries.

On April 2-4 The Moon is in the constellation Taurus the bull. On the April 2 the Moon is below and right of the bright star Aldebaran. Directly above the Moon and nearly overhead is Capella the goat star in the constellation Auriga the charioteer. On April 3 the Moon moves closer to Aldebaran. On April 4 the Moon moves between Aldebaran (lower right) and the red giant star Betelgeuse (left) in constellation of Orion the hunter. Below Betelgeuse through the three belt stars is Rigel a spectacular blue giant star. Betelgeuse is 135,000 times brighter than our Sun and Rigel is 85,000 times brighter than our Sun.

On April 5 The Moon is in a little section of the constellation Orion between Taurus and Gemini. Jupiter is upper left of the Moon. Betelgeuse is the lower left.

On April 6-7 the Moon is the constellation Gemini. On April 6 Jupiter is above and left of the Moon two somewhat bright stars, Pollux (left) and Castor (right), the Gemini twins, are above the Moon and Jupiter. To the left of the Moon is Procyon in Canis Minor. Below Procyon, close to the horizon, is the brightest star in the sky is Sirius in the constellation Canis Major, the big dog. On April 7 the Moon moves between to Procyon (below) and the Gemini twins Pollux and Caster (above). The Moon is also at first quarter. When the Moon is at first quarter it is approximately in same place in space as the Earth and you were 3.5 hours ago. Moon is no longer a crescent when the Moon is at First Quarter.

April 8-15: The waxing gibbous phases. The After First Quarter the moon phases start getting fuller until full. The Moon continues moving easterly each day away from the setting Sun until it is full on the eastern horizon.

On April 8 the Moon enters the constellation Cancer, the crab. There are no noticeably bright stars in Cancer.

On April 9-11 the Moon is in the constellation Leo the lion. On April 10 the Moon will below Regulus, the king star.

On April 12-15 the Moonis in the constellation Virgo the virgin. On April 12-13 the Moon will be above and right of a very bright Mars. On April 14 the Moon will be directly below Mars and barely above the star Spica. You may need binoculars to see Spica because of the Moon’s glare. On April 15 the Moon is full. The full moon marks the transition of the Moon moving from the evening sky to the morning sky. This month’s full moon has an added attraction. A total lunar eclipse will take place in the early morning hours of April 15. In Denver the eclipse will actually begin a few minutes before midnight on April 14. Mid eclipse occurs at 1:46am MDT. Local times vary depending on your location within the time zone and for different time zones. Go here for detailed local information.

Wishing you clear skies