Observer's Archive - Apr-Jun 2004

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April 23 to May 1

I hope that you've been keeping track of this year's spectacular planetary showing. You've been doing true observing-the kind that goes back to humanity's roots. The skies aren't quite as dark and scary (well, people DO still think of the dark as scary and try to hide from it) but the sight of a handful of bright stars moving against a predictable tableau of never-changing stars probably helped bolster human-kind's intellectual and social growth. Keep up the good work!

The Moon waltzes past Venus, Mars (both on the 23rd), Saturn (the 25th) and then Jupiter (the 29th) in April's last week. Your pencil must be smoking from all the sketching you're doing.

May 2 to May 8

The planets just keep on getting better and better. Venus outshines everything in the night sky (except for the full Moon) and reaches her most dazzling on the 2nd. Take a look at her through a telescope-even a small scope will show her ever-so-thin figure. Very fashionable.

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks on the 4th, but the Moon is full on the same night. Why don't you try observing the shower with your radio 'telescope'. Find a FM station that's just below your horizon, sit back in the comfort of your house (radio observatory) and count the meteors. April's 'Web Page of the Month' features an excellent starter to advanced resource to help you.

May 9 to May 15

Get out and try to spot Comet NEAT. As I write this, I'm not sure what you'll be able to see, but you should at least be able to find the comet in binoculars. Start looking for it early in the month near Sirius. By the 10th it will be very close to Procyon and continues up through the Beehive cluster on the 14th and 15th. Anybody up to the technical challenge of a Moon-comet image on the 16th?

By August, the fading comet swings through the Big Dipper.


C/2001 Q4 (Neat) and the Beehive Cluster

Comet C/2001 Q4 Neat
and the Beehive Cluster

May 16 to May 22

You've got Comet NEAT in your sights. Now cruise the plane of the Solar System-Mars and Saturn are just off to the West in Gemini. On the 14th, 15th and 16th, you could use Mars and Saturn as 'pointers' to find the comet. On the 21st and 22nd, the Moon's thin crescent hovers near these two planets. Mars is just over 2.2 Astronomical Units (330 million kilometres) away. Saturn is much further away at about 9.6 Astronomical Units away. Scan eastward to Jupiter and you're seeing the planet at a mere 5 Astronomical Units away. You could drop Saturn and his rings between your spot on Earth and the Moon. You tell me what that distance is.

An Astronomical Unit is the distance from our planet to the Sun. Multiply this distance by 8 to get an idea of just how long light takes to travel from planet to your eyes.

May 23 to May 29

And, then there's Comet LINEAR � On May 1, it was on the ecliptic near Pices' circlet, then it traveled down to hover near Sirius between the 22nd and 24th. Now it's moving away from us to fade away in June's Hydra. Your head must be spinning from trying to take it all in.

May 30 to June 5

While you're admiring all the Solar System objects, don't forget to take time to look at the constellations these objects float through.



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Observer's Archives - Feb- Mar 1999
Observer's Archives - April 1999
Observer's Archives - Jul-Aug 2000
Observer's Archives - Sep 2000
Observers Archives - Feb 2001
Observers Archives - 2002
Observer's Archives - Jan-Jul 2003
Observer's Archives - Feb-Apr 2003
Observer's Archives - Mar 2003
Observer's Archive - Sep-Nov 2003
Observers Archive - Jan-Feb 2004
Observer's Archive - Feb-Apr 2004
Observer's Archive - Apr-Jun 2004
Observer's Archive - Jun-Dec 2004
Observer's Archive Dec/04-Dec/05
Observing Highlights - Jan-Jun 2006
Observing Highlights - Jul-Dec 2006
Observing Highlights - Jan-Jun 2007
Observing Highlights - Jul-Dec 2007
Observing Highlights 2008
Observing Highlights 2009
Observing Highlights 2010
Observing Highlights 2011
Observing Highlights 2012
Observing Highlights 2013


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