Hey, hey... Sorry I can't "do" the FrontPage thing... Guess you'll just have to bear with my old-fashioned hand coding! Anyhow, welcome to "Seeing Stars"! Time to break out those 'scopes and head out, because the month ahead promises many fine things to look at! (galaxies... i want galaxies... ;)
Now, let's head to the charts, and see what we can find for YOU!
Comet Kudo-Fujikawa has now returned to our hemisphere. Not for the "faint of heart", Kudo-Fujikawa is presently at around 10th magnitude. Comet NEAT is also climbing into availability to our skies and should present a much easier target. Click on the comet image to your right to take you to Heaven's Above for location charts.
The annual Lyrid Meteor shower will peak on the night of April 22 and on the morning of April 23. The random rate will increase both before and after those dates. Best viewing times are around 4:00 a.m til dawn when the radiant is well above the horizon.
Jupiter halts its' retrograde motion on April 3, but right now is making an incredible appearance along with the "Beehive" Cluster (M44). Binocular users will find this a particular treat and telescope users will find that using very lower power means a chance to squeeze both a Messier, a planet and its' moons in the same field of view!
Asteroid Vesta will be making a long and arduous journey through the southern constellations and on some nights approach naked eye visibility. To follow the asteroid's progress, click on the image to the right for finder charts.
Right now the International Space Station is well placed for many evening fly-overs. Click on the image to your right to take you to Heaven's Above for times and location charts.
Our ever-active and ever-changing nearest "star" continues to be a fascinating target during the sunspot phase, using either safe solar projection methods or safe solar filtering techniques. The image to the right is real time and clicking on it will take you to "SpaceWeather" where you will find current sunspot numbers and aurora alerts.
Now... have you had your fill yet? Not me! I never get enough of this beautiful night sky! 'Lest we forget, there are still other equally fascinating targets out there yet, so keep an eye on Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars! Of course, it is within our capabilities to view Uranus, and Neptune with a small scope, but, trust me... they're boring!)
In the mean time, there will be lots of exciting things in the months to come... like more meteor showers and comets! And, of course, there are transits and occultations, as well as asteroids and eclispes to keep us busy! But, for now, let's get out some star charts and pour us another cup of coffee, because I'd rather be galaxy hoppin' and it's....OBSERVING TIME! Wishing you clear skies!