THE SOLAR SYSTEM IN APRIL 2018
Dates and times shown are NZST (UT + 12 hours) unless otherwise stated. Times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ. Data adapted from that shown by GUIDE 9.
NZDT ends at 3 am on April 1 when. All local times are given in NZST
THE SUN and PLANETS in APRIL 2018, Rise & Set, Mag. & Cons.
April 1 NZST April 30 NZST Mag Cons Rise Set Mag Cons Rise Set SUN -26.7 Psc 6.33am 6.15pm -26.7 Ari 7.04am 5.31pm Merc 5.9 Psc 6.48am 6.01pm 0.3 Cet 4.44am 4.35pm Venus -3.9 Ari 8.14am 7.04pm -3.9 Tau 9.24am 6.49pm Mars 0.3 Sgr 10.41pm 1.53pm -0.4 Sgr 9.56pm 12.59pm Jup -2.4 Lib 7.54pm 10.09am -2.5 Lib 5.52pm 8.00am Sat 0.5 Sgr 10.50pm 1.48pm 0.4 Sgr 8.56pm 11.54am Uran 5.9 Psc 7.57am 6.54pm 5.9 Ari 6.08am 5.01pm Nep 8.0 Aqr 4.17am 5.14pm 7.9 Aqr 2.28am 3.22pm Pluto 14.5 Sgr 11.46pm 2.37pm 14.4 Sgr 9.52pm 12.43pm April 1 NZST April 30 NZST Twilights morning evening morning evening Civil: start 6.08am, end 6.41pm start 6.38am, end 5.58pm Nautical: start 5.36am, end 7.13pm start 6.05am, end 6.31pm Astro: start 5.04am, end 7.45pm start 5.33am, end 7.03pm
APRIL PHASES OF THE MOON, times NZDT (& UT)
Full moon: April 1 at 12.37am (Mar 31, 12:37 UT) Last quarter April 8 at 7.18pm (07:18 UT) New moon: April 16 at 1.57pm (01:57 UT) First quarter: April 23 at 9.46am (Apr 22, 21:46 UT) Full Moon: April 30 at 12.58pm (00:58 UT)
Strictly the full moon of April 1 occurs before the end of NZDT, at 1.37 am.
MERCURY is at inferior conjunction on April 2 at ca 5am. It will then be nearly 3° north of the Sun as "seen" from the Earth. The planet will be just over 89 million km, 0.60 AU from the Earth and 0.40 AU from the Sun. After conjunction Mercury becomes a morning object. At its best, towards the end of April, it rises 140 minutes before the Sun. At 6am, an hour before sunrise, Mercury will be some 13° above the horizon in a direction 15° to the north of east. This will be the best morning apparition of Mercury in 2018 for southern hemisphere viewers.
VENUS, is a low evening object briefly visible soon after sunset, best positioned at the end of April. It moves from Aries into Taurus on April 20 and is 3° above the Pleiades on the 25th. While Venus may be visible some 7° up at about 6 pm, the Pleiades may be too faint to see.
MARS, is well south of the equator, rising late evening and not setting until early the following afternoon. It starts the month close to Saturn, the two being 1.3° apart on the 3rd. Over the next few days Mars rapidly draws away from Saturn. The moon, a few hours short of last quarter passé the two planets on the morning of the 7th. On the night of April 26/27 Mars will be just over 1.4° from Pluto.
JUPITER will be visible much of the evening, by the end of the month rising only 20 minutes after the Sun sets. It will be moving in a retrograde sense, towards the west. The moon passes Jupiter early in April, the two being closest, 4° apart on the morning of the 4th.
SATURN, in Sagittarius, is stationary on April 18. It then begins to move in a retrograde sense, almost retracing its path, to end the month close to where it started. See also under Mars.
URANUS is at conjunction on April 18 so is virtually unobservable all month. At conjunction it will be just under 20 AU beyond the Sun and one more from the Earth, at 3126 million kilometres. After conjunction Uranus starts to move into the morning sky.
NEPTUNE moves further up into the morning sky, to rise more than 4.5 hours before the Sun by the end of April. The crescent moon is at its closest to Neptune on the morning of April 13 when it will be 2.5° above the planet as seen an hour before sunrise.
PLUTO, in Sagittarius is stationary on April 23 when it begins to move in a retrograde sense. By the end of the month it will rise late evening and be close to Mars.
BRIGHTEST ASTEROIDS in APRIL, magnitude, constellation, time of transit
APRIL 1 APRIL 30 Mag Cons transit Mag Cons transit (1) Ceres 8.0 Cnc 8.27pm 8.4 Cnc 6.53pm (2) Pallas 9.1 Eri 4.03pm 9.1 Ori 3.05pm (4) Vesta 7.1 Sgr 5.40am 6.5 Sgr 4.06am
(1) CERES, in Cancer, is an evening object setting shortly after midnight on the 1st and at 11:08 pm on April 30th.
(2) PALLAS is an early evening object, setting at 9.20 pm by the end of April.
(4) VESTA is moving into the evening sky during April, rising at 10.31 on the 1st and just before 9 pm on the 30th when it will be 6.6° from Saturn. The moon will be just over 3° from Vesta an hour before sunrise on April 7.