Weymouth Astronomy

The Night Sky - April 2019

As Spring advances and the Sun climbs ever higher on the ecliptic, the nights grow shorter and milder. Leo stands proud on the meridian due south around 10pm BST led by the 'Sickle' asterism which includes the first magnitude star Regulus. Between Gemini and Leo lies Cancer. It is well worth observing with binoculars to see the Beehive Cluster at its heart.

The Night Sky

High Lights of the Month

  • 5th (early evening): Mars lies betwen the Hyades and Pleiades
  • 9th (early evening): Mars and a crescent Moon in Taurus
  • 15th (evening): The Moon below Leo
  • 24th (before dawn): Jupiter, Saturn and a waxing gibbous Moon

Three Open Clusters

Looking northwest in the evening of the 6th, at an elevation of approx 35 degrees the 'W' shaped constellation of Cassiopeia can be observed. Up to the left lies Perseus with its bright star Mirphak which lies at the heart fo the Alpha Persei Cluster. Between Cassiopeia and Perseus the Perseus Double Cluster can be seen with binoculars or a small telescope. These are relatively young with an age of 13 million years and lie at a distance of 7,500 light years. There are more than 300 blue-white supergiant stars in each cluster.

 

Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine