Society News and Night Sky Notes – April 2000

Society News Headlines

  • April 1st – Transit of Jupiter across the Sun.
  • April 2nd – Mercury 1.6° North of Moon.
  • April 2nd – Zodiacal light observational period begins.
  • April 3rd – Astronomy Week in USA. (Ends Apr 9th).
  • April 3rd – Venus 3° North of Moon.
  • April 5th – Comet C/1999 J2 (Skiff) at perihelion (7.110AU).
  • April 6th – Mars 5° North of Moon.
  • April 6th – Jupiter 4° North of Moon.
  • April 6th – Saturn 3° North of Moon.
  • April 6th – Mars 1.1° North of Jupiter.
  • April 8th – Moon at Perigee.
  • April 8th – National Astronomy Day – USA.
  • April 11th – 30th Anniversary (1970) of launch of Apollo 13, at 13:13hrs.
  • April 14th – BAA Winchester Weekend, King Alfred College, Winchester.(Ends April 16th).
  • April 14th – LAS Monthly Meeting 7pm in the Crypt Concert Room, Liverpool RC Catheral.(Use underground car park entrance).
  • April 16th – Mars 2° North of Saturn.
  • April 18th – Comet 108P/Ciffreo at perihelion (1.713AU).
  • April 21st – Comet 64P/Swift-Gehrels at perihelion (1.340AU).
  • April 22nd – Lyrid Meteor Shower max.
  • April 24th – Comet C/1999 K8 (Linear) at perihelion (4.200AU).
  • April 24th – Moon at apogee.
  • April 25th – 10th Anniversary (1990) of the deployment into Earth orbit of The Hubble Space Telescope.
  • April 26th – Neptune 1° North of Moon.
  • April 27th – Uranus 1.3° North of Moon.
  • April 28th – Mercury 0.3° South of Venus.
  • April 28th – Jan Oort’s 100th Birthday (1900).
  • April 29th – BAA Out-of-London Meeting, including Ordinary Meeting, B&M Institute, Margaret Street, Birmingham.


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 GMT the same as U.T. Times For Observer in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.

Please note change to BST

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

           Mar 31st     Apr 5th     10th      15th      20st      25th        30th
SUNRISE    06:48        06:36      06:24     06:12     06:01     05:50       05:40
SUNSET     19:46        19:55      20:04     20:13     20:22     20:31       20:40
on 4th
at 05h:13m
on 11th
at 14h:31m
on 18th
at 18h:07m
on 26th
at 20h:31m



Mercury is not favourable to view this month.


Venus may still be visible very shortly before Sunrise but it must be regarded as unfavourable now as it continues its journey away from us toward the back of the Sun.


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

Mars is also poorly placed, lying 25° away from the Sun at the start of the month. Look towards the West on the 6th and Mars will pass 1° North of slower moving Jupiter as they both head towards the Sun. On the same day the Moon lies 6° South.Nine days later, on the 15th Mars passes 2° North of Saturn. This maybe a good time to record a series of observations – either photographic or a drawing – each day from the start of the month and track the planets as they all head towards an inevitable rendezvous with the Sun.

MARSWATCH – latest observations of the red planet.


  • 20 Massalia is at oppostion at Mag 9.6 in Virgo on April 14th.
  • 1 Ceres is well placed, also in Virgo at mag 7.0 on April 1st.

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter is part of the “Dance of the Planets” with Saturn and Mars low in the West after Sunset.

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.


Saturn is also closely involved with Jupiter and mars in the evening sky in the West at 21h:00 mid month.


Uranus is slowly recovering from its February solar conjunction, and can be seen at Mag 5.9 in Capricornus.

 Positions for the 1st April
          R.A.                   DEC                    TRANSIT TIME           MAG
      21h:29m:12s            -15°:33':19"                  09h:01m             5.9

Like Uranus, Neptune is recovering from its solar conjunction in January 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:34m:06s           -18°:30'19"                   08h:06m             7.9


Pluto can be found on the border of Ophiuchus and Scorpius, roughly between the 4th magnitude stars zeta and 20 Ophiuchi. 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 10th             16h:50m:54s            -11°:09':56"                 03:48
April 20th             16h:50m:17s            -10°:12':15"                 03:08
April 30th             16h:49m:30s            -10°:08':50"                 02:28

Pluto is best seen between March 28th – April 11th.


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


  • 5th April Comet C/1999 J2 (Skiff) at Perihelion (7.110AU).
  • 18th April Comet 108/P (Ciffreo) at Perihelion (1.713AU).
  • 21st April Comet 64P/Swift-Gehrels at Perihelion (1.340AU).
  • 24th April Comet C/1999 k8 (Linear) at Perihelion (4.200AU).

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


  • April 9th at 23h:40m Disappearance of chi Orionis.(mag 4.4)