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  • Mel Hulbert

What’s in the Sky – April 2023

Moon Phase:

Full Moon 6th

Last Quarter 13th

New Moon 20th

First Quarter 28th


Planets:

Evening Sky

Mercury returns to the western sky just after sunset in the constellation Aries. However, it remains close to horizon and difficult to see in the bright twilight sky.

Venus shines brightly in the western evening sky. It starts the month in the constellation Aries and after the first week moves into Taurus, passing close to the bright star cluster M45, better known as the Pleiades.

Mars is in the north-western sky after sunset, in the constellation Gemini.

Morning Sky

Saturn is rising in the eastern sky, (about 2:30am mid-month) in the constellation Aquarius. Saturn will remain in Aquarius until April 2025, making the ringed planet easy to find, as it is the brightest object in the constellation, outshining alpha Aquarii.


Worth a Look:

20th: Solar eclipse - see below.

23rd: The three-day old waxing crescent Moon is directly below the brilliantly shining Venus.

26th: The waxing crescent Moon is about three degrees below and to the east (right) of the red planet, Mars. The bright twin stars of Castor and Pollux are close by, making a nice grouping in the sky.


Partial solar eclipse phases and totality. 2008 Eclipse in Russia.

20th April – Solar Eclipse

On April 20, 2023 a hybrid eclipse or annular-total eclipse will occur. This is the rarest type of eclipse and is where the eclipse transitions from annular to total along the track and for this particular eclipse, it starts as annular, transitions to total and then back to annular. The eclipse only makes landfall at Exmouth, Western Australia, along a narrow track only 40km wide. Across the rest of Australia, a partial solar eclipse will be seen. How much of the eclipse you will see, will depend on how close to the track you are – the closer you are, the larger the partial eclipse will be.

Remember it is dangerous to watch the eclipse while the Moon is moving across the Sun. Specialist eye and camera protection is essential. Make sure you don’t use photographic-only filters visually as these can still cause damage to your eyes. Eclipse glasses are an ideal (and safe) way to watch a solar eclipse however make sure they carry safety standard labelling (usually small print on the inside of the glasses) before using.

Details of what you will see from your location can be found on my solar eclipse information page.


You can download a star map for April here.

Clear Skies!



References:

Dawes G., Northfield P., Wallace K. (2020). Astronomy 2023 Australia, Quasar Publishing.


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