By Dr. Bob Doyle, Frostburg State Planetarium

Garrett County Skies for April 2019

Moon near Venus,  then in Taurus, full on 4/19,  then close to giant planets

    April opens with a 7:03 a.m. Oakland sunrise and a 7:40 p.m. sunset. Sunlight that day lasts 12 hr. 37 min.  The sun is in Pisces through April 18 and then moves into Aries. April ends with a 6:21 a.m. sunrise and a 8:09 p.m. sunset.  Sunlight that day lasts 13 hr. 48 min.

     On April 2, a slender crescent moon appears near the brilliant planet Venus in the 6 a.m. dawn. The innermost planet Mercury is below Venus on that morning. On April 5, the moon’s motion about the Earth will carry it from the morning to the evening side of the sun. On the evening of April 8, the moon will appear below the planet Mars. On that evening, to the right of the moon will be the 7 Sisters star cluster.  On April 9, the moon will appear above and to the left of the planet Mars. To the left of Mars then will be the bright orange star Aldebaran of Taurus. The moon will be full on the evening of April 19, in front of the stars of Virgo.

At dawn (5:30 a.m.) on April 23, the moon will appear near the bright planet Jupiter in the South. On April 25 at dawn, the moon will appear near the bright planet Saturn. On April 26, the moon will appear half full (like a reversed ‘D’) in the southern dawn.

     On April evenings, the Big Dipper is upside down and high in the North. The two leftmost stars in the bowl make a line that points down to the North Star. If you extend the Dipper’s handle stars to the right, you will come to the bright orange star Arcturus high in the Eastern sky. The bright winter stars make an arch in the western sky. In the early evening, the arch stars are: (from left to right)  Sirius (Big Dog), Procyon (Little Dog), Pollux, Castor and Capella. The planet Mars is inside this arch.