Celestial events in the skies for the week of April 11 – 17, 2017 as compiled for The Loafer by Mark D. Marquette.
Planet Jupiter is the “star” of the night sky from now until late Summer. You can’t miss the giant of our Solar System, shining brilliant yellow above the pearly white star Spica, both in the constellation Virgo the Virgin. And it’s Easter Week, as that lunar eclipse Full Moon of Tuesday determines the Holy Days: Easter Sunday is the first Sunday (April 16) after the first Full Moon (Tuesday, April 11) after the first day of Spring (March 20). Full Moons of April have the nicknames of Pink, Sprouting Grass, Egg and Fish moons.
Tuesday, April 11
Jupiter isn’t the only planet in the night sky. Mars is still in Taurus, setting 2 hours after the Sun. And Saturn is rising in the east and easily seen after 2 pm in Sagittarius, the middle of our Milky Way. The Moon will be beside the ringed world on April 17th.
Wednesday, April 12
On this 1961 date in space history, Yuri Gagarin was rocketed into Earth orbit, the first human in space. Celebrated by tens of thousands around the world, check out events for “Yuri’s Night” on the website yurisnight.net.
Thursday, April 13
Leo the Lion rises high in the east, its stars very easy to find: the head and mane are a backward question mark dotted by bright, yellow star Regulus; and the hindquarters are a right triangle of three equally bright stars.
Friday, April 14
Interested in amateur astronomy? The best place to start is the fellowship of Bristol Astronomy Club at 7 pm at the Burke Observatory on the campus of King University. Bring your telescope and member will show you how to use it!
Saturday, April 15
Stargaze at Bays Mt. Park in Kingsport with amateur astronomers as your guide at their “StarWatch.” Beginning before dark at 8 pm, the stargazing lasts until 10 pm and is free to the public.
Sunday, April 16
Easter Sunday. There are 11 bright stars to dazzle the early evening, but eight will be setting between 10-11 pm, those in the Winter constellations of Orion, Taurus, Gemini, Auriga, Canis Major and Canis Minor.
Monday, April 17
Looking north you can’t miss the most popular of all star patterns, the Big Dipper, which is just a part of the huge constellation Ursa Major, the Big Bear. The outside bowl stars point to the North Star, Polaris, which is the end star of the handle of the Little Dipper, part of Ursa Minor.