Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2018 April 2
Explanation: While cruising around Saturn, be on the lookout for picturesque juxtapositions of moons, rings, and shadows. One quite picturesque arrangement occurred in 2005 and was captured by the then Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft. In the featured image, moons Tethys and Mimas are visible on either side of Saturn’s thin rings, which are seen nearly edge-on. Across the top of Saturn are dark shadows of the wide rings, exhibiting their impressive complexity. The violet-light image brings up the texture of the backdrop: Saturn’s clouds. Cassini orbited Saturn from 2004 until September of last year, when the robotic spacecraft was directed to dive into Saturn to keep it from contaminating any moons.
Moon and Jupiter April 2 and 3
Tonight and tomorrow night – April 2 and 3, 2018 – watch for two very bright objects near each other late at night and before dawn breaks. They are the waning gibbous moon and king planet Jupiter. Two other planets – Mars and Saturn – are also nearby.
On April 2 and 3, as seen from the northern part of Earth’s globe, the moon and Jupiter climb above your southeast horizon in late evening. From the southern part of the globe, the moon and Jupiter are up by mid-evening (around 9 p.m. local time). From the entire globe, after they rise, the moon and Jupiter are up for the remainder of the night.
Meanwhile, Mars and Saturn come up closer to the time of dawn. They’re not as bright as the moon and Jupiter, but they’ll be nearby. Their conjunction is the morning of April 2, when they’re separated by only about 1.3 degrees, about the width of your finger held at arm’s length. Every morning this week, Mars and Saturn will be close enough to fit into a single binocular field of view. By the morning of April 7, the moon will join up with Mars and Saturn. As seen from North America, the moon, Mars and Saturn should fit – or nearly fit – into a single binocular field of view.
By the way, Jupiter is not the sky’s brightest planet. That honor belongs to Venus, which shines much more brilliantly than Jupiter ever does. In early April 2018, Venus is low in your western sky just after sunset and soon follows the sun beneath the western horizon.
Day by day throughout April, Venus will set later after sunset, while – day by day – Jupiter will rise earlier.
By mid-April, Venus will be setting as Jupiter is rising (given a level horizon). Toward the month’s end, look for Venus and Jupiter to appear opposite one another for a brief while at dusk or nightfall.
Bottom line: The moon and brilliant Jupiter are close on April 2 and 3, 2018. Bright Mars and Saturn are nearby.
Bruce McClure has served as lead writer for EarthSky’s popular Tonight pages since 2004. He’s a sundial aficionado, whose love for the heavens has taken him to Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and sailing in the North Atlantic, where he earned his celestial navigation certificate through the School of Ocean Sailing and Navigation. He also writes and hosts public astronomy programs and planetarium programs in and around his home in upstate New York.
Originally published on EarthSky
The Wisdom of Buddha
You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.
Your Daily Charm
This aspect of your life will be strongly influenced by a person who is emotional, loving, intuitive, imaginative, shrewd, cautious, protective and sympathetic. This could be an elder you look up too.
Fourth sign of the Zodiac, June 22nd to July 23rd. Ruled by the Moon; correct metal, Silver. Those born under Cancer’s influence were supposed to be keen observers, imaginative, strong willed, reliant, tenacious, impressionable, brilliant, reserved, exacting, and sometimes over anxious. The Cancer stones are the emerald, agate, and chalcedony. The emerald was most highly esteemed in ancient times, was believed to possess great healing powers, and to be beneficial to the eyes. Emerald talismans were worn to invoke eloquence, courage, protection from sickness, and by seamen to guard them from perils at sea. Emeralds were supposed to turn pale at the approach of danger.