Manx skies... April
2018 ~ compiled by Dave Storey
times quoted are Universal Time (UT)
Summer Time is now in force. Remember to add 1 hour to any times
quoted here to get local IoM time.
There are no Lunar or
Solar eclipses this month.
Solar activity is low with
24 now in force.
NEVER DIRECTLY OBSERVE THE SUN WITH YOUR NAKED EYES AND/OR OPTICAL
INSTRUMENTATION: YOU WILL BE BLINDED!
Solar Rotation number 2203 starts on the 19th
Goes through inferior
conjunction (between the Earth and Sun) on the 1st when
it passes 2.7° north of the Sun. After this date, the planet
will become a morning object for the rest of the month and best
viewed from the southern hemisphere. It reaches greatest western
elongation on the 29th when it will be 27° to the
right of the Sun. It will be poorly placed for viewing from Manx
be found in the west after sunset, shining at a very bright -3.9.
As seen through a telescope, the disc will have a large phase of
94.2% illuminated and apparent diameter of 10.6 arc seconds. By
the end of the month, the planet will sport a phase of 88.7% and
the apparent disc size will have increased to 11.5 arc seconds.
After sunset on the evening of
try finding the young crescent Moon ( 4° illuminated) about 6°
lower left of Venus.
rising 02.36h on the 1st
, shining at magnitude +0.3. It
will be seen close to Saturn with the two planets in
conjunction on the 2nd.
On this date, the planet Saturn will be just over 1° north of
Mars. Saturn will be shining at magnitude +0.5 and slightly
fainter than Mars. Of course, Mars will show it reddish tinged
colouration. After the conjunction, Mars will move away towards
the east while Saturn continues westerly. The view through a
telescope will show a tiny disc size of 8.4 to 11.0 arc seconds
with a distinct phase of around 88%. The planet will be low down
in Manx skies, so the image as seen though a telescope will be
very degraded due to poor seeing.
found low down in the south in Libra during the month, shining at
magnitude -2.4 to -2.5
It rises 22.32h on the 1st
and by 20.21h by the 30th
As the moons orbit
Jupiter, there are occasions when the shadow of the moons can be
seen upon the surface of Jupiter and the moons can transit across
Jupiter's disc. Also, the moons can be seen to be occulted or
eclipsed by Jupiter. There are many events throughout the month.
See periodicals such as the BAA
Handbook, Astronomy Now
and Sky at Night
magazines for listings.
The Great Red Spot may be seen
using a telescope in good seeing conditions. Using a light blue
filter with an eyepiece will help. Opportunities to see the Great
Red Spot from Mann occur on a regular basis.
Click here for suitable dates and
To help you identify the moons
at any particular time, Sky
and Telescope have
tool that will plot the moon positions. Click
a morning sky object and will be found close to Mars at the start
of the month. On the
morning of the 7th,
the waning gibbous Moon will be found about 4° upper right of
Saturn. Lower left of
Saturn (2.7°) will be planet Mars. The rings of Saturn are
well presented towards Earth at an angle of 25° and should
prove a grand sight through a telescope.
The brightest moon of Saturn,
Titan (magnitude +8.7) will be seen west of the planet on 3rd,
4th ,5th , 19th ,20th
and 21st . It will be west on the 11th ,12th
,13th ,27th ,28th and 29th
meteors are active during the month with maximum activity during
The rate is low at on 5 meteors per hour (ZHR).
The meteors move in long, slow paths across the sky. Radiants at
RA14h04m Dec. -09° and RA13h36m Dec. -11°
are active from 18th
a maximum on the 22nd. Rates are 10 meteors per hour (ZHR).
Fine displays were seen in 1803, 1922 and 1982 so it will be worth
while observing this year in case of enhanced activity. Radiant at
The meteors from the shower originate
from comet Thatcher that was discovered in 1861 by A. E. Thatcher.
are active from 20th
into May with two peaks in activity. One on the 28th
and the other on the 12th
Rates are low at only 5 meteors per hour (ZHR).
Radiant at RA16h31m Dec. -24°
are active from the 24th with a maximum due in May.
Radiant at RA22h30m Dec. -01°
Brighter than Magnitude +6.0)
Magnitude. P.A. Type of event. Notes
4th 02.06:18 2247 159466 +5.4 256° RD eta
8th 03.21:05 2797 187756 +2.9 273° RD pi
very detailed list of occultations visible this month, click
here. (Data from Occult Software)
are UT as seen from IoMAS Observatory. Start to observe these
events about 20 minutes before the above times to allow for
differences in your latitude and longitude. This will give you
time to locate the star that is about to be occulted.
= Zodiacal Catalogue. Type of Event DD = disappearance at dark
limb, RD = Reappearance at dark limb. RB = Reappearance on bright
limb. PA = Position Angle around limb of the Moon, where 0 degrees
is north, 90 degrees is east, 180 degrees is south and 270 degrees
D* = Double Star, M* = Multiple Star
predictions were calculated from Occult software by David Herald.
More information regarding this software may be found at the
star drops from magnitude
+2.1 to +3.4 in about 5 hours. There are no suitable dates for
observing this month. Click
here for a star chart for Algol.
There are no predicted bright
comets this month.
The international Space
Station crosses the Manx skies on a regular basis. For the latest
information on when the ISS is due to pass across the sky over the
next ten days, visit the link below.
transit Information from Heavens Above.com
for Manx Night Skies
Handbook of the British Astronomical Association 2018. BAA.
2018 Stargazing. Heather Couper & Nigel Henbest.
2018 Guide to the Night Sky. Storm Dunlop &
Wil Tirion. Collins 2017
Yearbook of Astronomy 2018. Brian
Jones/Richard Pearson. Pen & Sword White Owl. 2017
Handbook Meteors. Neil Bone. Philip's 1993
Atlas of the Night
Sky. Storm Dunlop. Collins. 2005
Constellations. Josef Klepešta
and Antonin Rükl. Hamlyn. 1979
Brilliant Stars. Patrick
Moore. The Book People Ltd. 1996
Complete Guide to Stargazing.
Robin Scagell. Phillip's. 2006
Turn Left at Orion. Guy
Consolmango and Dan M. Davis. Cambridge U.P. 2008
2000.0 Edited Ian Ridpath. Longman Scientific & Technical.
Planetary data derived from
Picture graphics derived from Stellarium
and Guide 9 Software.