Society News and Night Sky Notes – April 1999

Society News Headlines

  • April 1st – Jupiter in conjunction with the Sun.
  • April 1st – 33rdBAA Winchester Weekend, Winchester, Hampshire. (ends April 3rd)
  • April 1st – Neil Armstrong guest speaker at University Meeting.
  • April 1st – Mercury is stationary.
  • April 1st – Juno is stationary.
  • April 2nd – Zodiacal light observational period begins.
  • April 3rd – Comet Schorr at Perihelion (2.847AU).
  • April 3rd – Mars is 3° South of Moon.
  • April 4th – BBC’s Sky at Night On BBC1 with Patrick Moore. Seeing red with guest Prof Peter Cattermole.
  • April 6th – Comet Singer-Brewster at Perihelion (2.032AU).
  • April 10th – Neptune 1.1° South of Moon.
  • April 11th – Uranus 1° South of Moon.
  • April 14th – Mercury 1.1° North of Moon.
  • April 16th – LAS Monthly meeting at 19:00BST NMGM Liverpool Museum. Mr Barry Pemberton on Telescope Optics.
  • April 16th – Mercury at greatest elongation from Sun- 28° West. However not visible from Liverpool.
  • April 18th – Venus 7° North Moon.
  • April 18th – Venus,Moon,Pleiades, Aldebaran close conjunction.
  • April 19th – Aldebaran 0.7° South of Moon.
  • April 20th – Pallas in conjunction with the Sun.
  • April 21st – Venus is 7° North of Aldebaran.
  • April 22nd – Lyrids Meteor shower Maximum.
  • April 24th – Mars at oppostion in Virgo.
  • April 24th – BAA Out-of-London meeting at Northampton.
  • April 24th – SPA meeting at University of Westminster, London 14:30 BST.
  • April 24th – Lunar Occulation of Regulus D at 22:16:17,R at 23:04:37 – times for Liverpool.
  • April 27th – Saturn at conjunction with the Sun.
  • April 29th – Mars 4° South of Moon.


Will it be cloudy to-night?, ask the The U.K. Goverment Met Office Weather service. To make your own star chart fo your location at any time, Click Here.

The Sun and Moon All times are in BRITISH SUMMER TIME (BST). Times For Observer in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.


Latitude 53 degs 24 mins North.
Longitude +3.0 degs West.

              1st          6th        11th      16th      21st      26th       May 1st
SUNRISE    06:46        06:36      06:22     06:11     05:59     05:49       05:38
SUNSET     19:47        19:56      20:05     20:14     20:23     20:32       20:41
on 16th
at 04h:22m
on 22nd
at 19h:01m
on 30th
at 14h:55m
on 9th
at 03h:51m



Although Mercury reaches greatest Western elongation this month on the 6th, it is not favourable placed for observers in the Northern Hemisphere.


Venus is most definitely at its best now.Over 25° above the Western horizon at the time of evening civil twilight. Venus passes 2.5° South of the Pleiades star cluster in Taurus on the 14th so binocular observers will have the advantage over telescope owners in viewing this wide-field event. A 200mm telephoto lens with fast (in excess of 400ASA) film in the camera will record the passing with an exposure of around 20s although there will be a small amount of trailing ifthe camera is not tracked throughout the expsure. Asthe planet tracks through Taurus it passes North of the naked-eye stars Upsilon,Kappa, and Tau Tauri on the 20th, the 20th again and the 23rd respectively. At the end of the month the planets’ disk is 16″ across and shows a phase of 69%.


Mars is at opposition on the 24th and speeds up its motion in Virgo.

Mars, drawn by Ken Clarke, as viewed through a 10" F4.3 Reflector 308x,432x. w=14.4, seeing 3-5, at 00:00 UTC on November 4th, 1990

Mars, drawn by Ken Clarke, as viewed through a 10″ F4.3 Reflector 308x,432x.
w=14.4, seeing 3-5, at 00:00 UTC on November 4th, 1990

In February Mars passed between the stars kappa and Lambda Virginis and this month, with the planet having changed direction, it encounters them again. On the 16th mars is 1°North of Lambda, and on the 23rd 1.5° South of Kappa. Binoculars offer a very poor view of Mars due to its small size – it is only 4,200 miles across – so a telescope capable of usefully using a high magnification is necessary to see any surface details. The use of blue filters at the eyepiece will increase contrast amd make the pastel shades of the features stand out slightly better.Mars shows a disk 15″ across,but in August 2003 the disc will be 25″ across. On the 30th at 00h the Moon passes 3° South of Mars.

MARSWATCH – latest observations of the red planet.


  • Juno is stationary on the 1st of April.
  • Pallas is in conjunction with the Sun on April 20th.
  • Metis is at apposition at Mag 9.9 in Virgo on April 19th.

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter is at solar conjunction with the Sun on April 1st, but will appear in the morning sky near the end of the Month.
Launched in October 1989, the Galileo Jupiter Probe entered orbit around the great planet on December 7th 1995. The Project Galileo Homepage will give you up-to-date information and the very latest images returned.


As with Jupiter, Saturn is at solar conjunction but on the 24th April.


Uranus is slowly recovering from its February solar conjunction, and can be seen at Mag 5.8 in Capricornus.

Positions for the 1st April

                          R.A.                   DEC                    TRANSIT TIME           MAG
                      21h:13m:40s           -16°:43':46"                   08h:49m             5.8

Like Uranus, Neptune is recovering from its solar conjunction and at mag 7.9 the approaching twilight will hinder chances of locating this outer planets.

 Positions for the 1st April

                          R.A.                   DEC                    TRANSIT TIME           MAG
                      20h:25m:04s           -18°:58':09"                   08h:00m             7.9


Pluto can be found on the border of Ophiuchus and Scorpius, above and to the right of the mag 2.6 star Zeta Scorpii. The best time to look for the planet is around New Moon. The dates below will be a guide for planning observations.

Positions for April are when pluto's elongation angle is greater than 90°

DATE                      R.A.                   DEC                   TRANSIT TIME
April  1st             16h:39m:18s            -10°:15':43"                 05:18
April 11th             16h:38m:50s            -10°:12':15"                 04:38
April 21st             16h:38m:10s            -10°:08':50"                 03:58

Pluto is best seen between April 9th – April 23rd.


  • April 12th VIRGINIDS (6 per hour) Unfavourable.
  • April 22nd APRIL LYRIDS (20 per hour) Favourable.
  • April 28th ALPHA SCORPIIDS (20 per hour) Favourable.


  • Comet C/1999 H1 (Lee) discovered April 16th by Steven Lee Australia.
    Will reach North Hemisphere in early May in Hydra into Cancer. Expected to reach Mag 7 when it reaches perihelion in early July.
  • Comet Schorr at Perihelion on April 3rd (2.847AU).
  • Comet Singer-Brewster at Perihelion on April 6th (2.0232AU).

Plus these pages will give daily and weekly reports of this and other Comets progress.



  • April 18th at 21h:51m Disappearance of Gamma Tauri.
  • April 23rd at 21h:45m Disappearance of Pi Cancri.
  • April 24th at 22h:16m Disappearance of Alpha Leonis – Regulus.
  • April 24th at 23h:04m Reappearance of Alpha Leonis – Regulus.
  • April 26th at 02h:34m Disappearance of Chi Leonis.