April 2024 – What’s Up!

Week of 15th April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 22:14 BST at the start of the week and at 22:30 BST by the end of the week.
  • Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks reaches perihelion on Sunday. It will be at its brightest, at mag +4.4. Look for the comet in Taurus, close to the western horizon after sunset, which is at around 20:10 BST.
  • Jupiter (-2.0) is sinking ever closer to the western horizon, but is still just visible around sunset. It lies close to comet 12P/Pons-Brooks (+4.4) and under one degree away from Uranus (+5.8) this week.
  • The Moon is First Quarter on Monday.
  • The Sun currently has 7 active regions and the sunspot number is 115.
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week.
    (For full details about ISS passes click this link: heavens-above-iss-passes to visit the heavens-above website. If you are not in Marlborough, please ensure that you set your location for the most accurate ISS timings).

 

Week of 8th April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21:56 BST at the start of the week and at 22:11 BST by the end of the week.
  • The ‘Great American Eclipse’ is on Monday, with totality running from 16:43 BST in Mexico, crossing the USA and ending at 21:52 BST in south-eastern Canada. The eclipse won’t be visible from Marlborough, but a partial eclipse (max 39%) will be visible from Wales and Scotland.
  • Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is at mag +4.7. Find the comet in Aries, about 18° above the western horizon after sunset, which is at around 20:00 BST this week.
  • Enjoy galaxy hunting with a telescope in the darkness of New Moon this week. Targets in the ‘Bowl of Virgo’ include: elliptical galaxy M87, or Virgo A, (+8.7), spiral galaxy M98 (+9.9), and Markarian’s Chain, an interesting alignment of 9 and more galaxies, including M86 (+8.8) and M84 (+9.0).
  • The Moon is New on Monday.
  • The Sun currently has 5 active regions and the sunspot number is 71.
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week.
    (For full details about ISS passes click this link: heavens-above-iss-passes to visit the heavens-above website. If you are not in Marlborough, please ensure that you set your location for the most accurate ISS timings).

 

Week of 1st April

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 21:40 BST at the start of the week and at 21:54 BST by the end of the week.
  • Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is brightening, now at mag +5.1. Look for the comet in Aries, about 20° above the western horizon after sunset, which is at around 19:45 BST this week.
  • With the Waning Moon, this is a great time to hunt down faint galaxies in Ursa Major. Search for M81, Bode’s Galaxy (+6.8), and M82, the Cigar Galaxy (+8.0), close together about 10° to the northwest of Dubhe, the upper ‘pointer star’, and M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy (+7.9), about 3° below Alkaid, the star at the end of the Plough’s handle. A telescope will be needed to find these ‘faint fuzzies’.
  • The Moon is Last Quarter on Tuesday.
  • The Sun currently has 4 active regions and the sunspot number is 50.
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week.
    (For full details about ISS passes click this link: heavens-above-iss-passes to visit the heavens-above website. If you are not in Marlborough, please ensure that you set your location for the most accurate ISS timings).