Starwatch for April 2024

Written by on April 10, 2024

Hello! I’m Karl Hricko of United Astronomy Clubs of NJ and the National Space Society bringing you the April Starwatch for WNTI – the sound of Centenary.

They watched the Sun, as it began to disappear.  There were shouts of fear and bewilderment. These people of the ancient world now imagined their god the Sun, being devoured by some evil creature. So they made loud noises to drive away this voracious beast. Their frantic attempts were answered and their god returned. It was a total solar eclipse.

At that time in the past, there was little knowledge about astronomic phenomena. We now know that a total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between us and the Sun, so that part of our Earth is covered by the shadow cast by the Moon. Then as we continue to rotate, different parts of the Earth goes into the shadow, creating a narrow moving path of darkness. Every other area outside this path experiences either a partial eclipse, or none at all. As a result, only small regions of the Earth will see a total solar eclipse at any point in time.

This time, we’ll see a total solar eclipse on the east coast April 8th, beginning at 1:59 pm EDT, with totality starting at 3:13 pm EDT. To view the eclipse, you should purchase a special pair of eclipse glasses, in order to protect your eyes from the Sun’s harmful radiation.

Besides the Sun, we should also consider the visible planets.  After sunset looking west, you’ll see Jupiter in Aries. Then at dawn, Mars and Saturn are both found in Aquarius as you face the east. Mars is to the right of Saturn, and then is seen to the left of Saturn at the end of the month. Mercury and Venus are hidden in the light of the Sun, but can be seen next to the Sun during the eclipse. So to become figurative, don’t let the shadows around you eclipse the appreciation of life.

Until our next Starwatch –    Don’t forget to check out …

Courtesy of NASA

What’s up in the night sky!

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