Sky Report by Ted Gruber
Mars (magnitude 1.4) becomes visible high in the southwestern sky as darkness falls and remains visible until setting in the west around 11:30pm. In late March and early April, Mars passes near the Pleiades star cluster (M45). Mars makes its closest apparent approach to the Pleiades the evenings of March 29 and 30. Between April 6 and 9, Mars appears roughly halfway between the Pleiades and the red giant star Aldebaran (magnitude 0.9). A crescent moon joins this trio the evening of April 8.
Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus remain visible in the pre-dawn southeastern sky. Jupiter (magnitude -2.2) rises first, just past 3:00am in mid-March, followed by Saturn (magnitude 0.6) a little after 5:00am. Both planets rise earlier each morning, about two hours sooner by mid-April. Venus (magnitude -4.0) rises last, about 6:30am in mid-March and about 30 minutes earlier by mid-April. A crescent moon appears just southeast of Saturn the morning of March 29. The moon passes 1.6° north of Jupiter the morning of April 23.
Mercury (magnitude 0.8 on April 1) returns to the morning sky in early April. It is visible low to the horizon just east of Venus about 30 minutes before sunrise. The morning of April 11 presents the best viewing opportunity, but even then Mercury only reaches 4° above the eastern horizon.
Full (3/20), last (3/28), new (4/5), first (4/12), full (4/19), last (4/26).
Messier of the Month – M35
M35 is a magnitude 5.1 open cluster in the constellation Gemini. It is about 2,800 light years distant, contains several hundred stars, and has an estimated age of 110 million years. Binoculars resolve the cluster’s brightest stars, smaller scopes resolve fainter stars, and larger scopes resolve stars across the cluster.
Friends of Galileo
We are astronomy enthusiasts who love to learn and to share our wonder at the amazing sights right overhead.