Hello! This is Karl Hricko of United Astronomy Clubs of NJ bringing you the April Astronomy Update for the WNTI listening area.
The Moon started to disappear. It didn’t disappear completely, but turned to a copper color. The moongazers shouted out with yells of awe, amazement, and in some cases, fear. They were experiencing an unusual and to them, an unexplainable phenomenon. They were seeing an eclipse of the Moon.
This was how it probably was in the days before modern astronomy. Now, of course, we know that the disappearance of the Moon is not caused by demons of the underworld or gods on Mount Olympus.
As the Moon travels in its orbit around the Earth, from time to time, it passes through the shadow of the Earth and is eclipsed. This month, on the night of the 15th (Tuesday) at 3:07 a.m. EDT), there will be a total lunar eclipse which will last an hour and 18 minutes.
Aside from this spectacular event, you can also see the visible planets display their reflected sunlight as they slowly march across the sky from night to night. About an hour after sunset, Mars can be spotted above the bright star Spica in Virgo. Jupiter can be seen at the same time between the Gemini twins – still bright in the sky. You’ll see Saturn after 10 p.m. in Libra. Its brightness is due to the way its rings are tilted toward us. The beauty planet, Venus, rises prominently just before dawn in Aquarius.
So this month, the Moon hides behind the Earth’s shadow, and the planets show off their celestial beauty for our viewing pleasure.
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