The Night Sky in April


    DURING the month, night shortens by nearly two hours in the latitude of London. The moon is new on April 7 at 20-3h. and full on April 22 at 4-6h. On the latter date, a penumbral eclipse of the moon occurs, having been preceded on April 7 by an annular eclipse of the sun invisible in Great Britain, but to be seen in the southern parts of the United States of America·. The penumbral lunar eclipse on April 22 begins at 2h. 27m., reaches a maximum phase (0-89) at 4h. 26m., and ends at 6h. 25m. In the nature of things, a penumbral lunar eclipse is not a spectacular phenomenon, but a difference in brightness between the east and west parts of the moon's disk should be discernible in a naked-eye scrutiny. In the evening skies after sunset, the brilliant planet Venus dominates the other planets still above the horizon-Mars, which is visible for about three hours after sunset, and Saturn, drawing nearer to the sun's position until it is in conjunction on April 24. Jupiter is now too close to the sun for observation, being in conjunction on April 11. It may be noted that also on April 11 at Oh. Venus is in conjunction with Mars; while at 19h. the moon, then nearly four days old, will be in conj unction with both these planets. The Lyrid meteors are due during April 19-22, the radiant point being near 104 Her-culis. [All times are given in Universal Time; add 1 hour to convert to Summer Time.]

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    The Night Sky in April. Nature 145, 509 (1940).

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