Arizona Skies With Dr.Sky© April / May 2012
Welcome back to our exciting column on the many wonders of the night sky!
With Arizona temperatures returning to seasonal levels, we all want to spend more time outdoors and look skyward.
Here are some of the highlights of what North Valley and surrounding areas should get to see.
April offers up some interesting events in the form of the Easter/Passover seasons.
The dates of Easter and Passover are related to Astronomy, but the actual dates of Easter can range from as early as March 22nd,to as late as April 25th; all this due to the date of the Full Moon. Easter is determined as the first Sunday, after the full moon-on or after the Vernal Equinox (First day of Spring)…the Full Moon of April, is on the 6th and the first day of Spring was on March 20th. Thus, Easter is the next Sunday closest, to the 6th…in this case; April 8th.
The date of Passover is a bit more complicated…..
The rule for the date of how Passover is determined is that Passover , (Pesah) begins at sundown on the evening before the 15th day of the
Hebrew month of (Nisan), which falls in March or April. Passover begins on the evening (sundown), on April 6th.
It’s amazing how the wonders of Astronomy, effect all of our lives! The skies of April show off Earth’s nearest neighbor the Moon, at it’s
full phase on the 6th (Full Pink Moon), followed by last quarter on the 13th, with the New Moon on the 21st. Look for a first quarter moon high
in the south at sunset on April 29th.
For planets, look high in the W at sunset for Venus (brightest on the 30th) Jupiter is low in the W at sunset, followed by Mars, high in the E at sunset. Saturn reaches opposition on April 15th, rising in the SE at sunset.
As we close out April skies, take note of the years first really good meteor shower. Look to the NE skies on the morning of April 22nd, as we get to see the annual Lyrid meteor shower.
May skies get even better, with the Full Flower moon on May 5th and the last quarter moon on the 12th. The dark of the moon, or new moon is on May 20th and a first quarter moon on May 28th.
Pay close attention to the afternoon of Sunday, May 20th, as the North Valley audience get’s to witness a unique solar eclipse! This partial/
ANNULAR ECLIPSE, will begin around 5:28PM local time and reach it’s peak, at 6:38PM local time, with 83% of the sun covered
by the moon. DO NOT stare at the sun, with out proper solar glasses or filters on binoculars/telescopes, as serious eye damage could occur.
The true annular eclipse, the “Ring Of Fire” is seen by lucky observers near Page, Arizona and area’s along the 200 mile wide path of annularity.
This is where the moon fits inside the diameter of the sun!
If you get to see this event, just wait till, June 5th, as the rarest event in Astronomy; the Transit Of Venus, occurs on that date!
Annular Eclipse Of The Sun- Defined
A solar eclipse in which the moon covers all but a bright ring around the circumference of the sun.
Learn more about this eclipse at: