New- Star Chart For Cayman

A new feature as of June 2015 has been added - look at the bottom of this web page and there is a new Star Chart exclusively for Grand Cayman

Thursday 19th April Pedros Castle


We will aim to meet on Thursday, 19th April at 7.30 at Pedro Castle. Our rule of thumb is that if the skies are more than 50% cloudy, we cancel. This can sometimes be a difficult decision. Call me if in doubt. (925 6576 cell, 947 3065 home, 949 2557 work)

As of next month, for all paid-up members, we will be offering an extra session a month. It may be themed around a particular event, or it may just be an extra viewing. It will probably be at short notice, and I will contact everybody via email.
The membership form is below.

This month’s newsletter has been put together by Chris Cooke

April Highlights

Following the spectacular Lunar Eclipse seen at Moonrise on March 3rd last month I thought Id take as a theme for this month the Moon, especially as it has a number of additional celestial tricks to perform this month. The dates listed below are in chronological order finishing with some observing highlights for the meeting on the 19th

A Full Moon on 2nd April

A Full Moon with quite some significance! The Moon is at its apogee – that is it’s at its furthest from the Earth at 400,000 kilometers .The disk as seen from the Earth is therefore at its smallest. Everyone throughout the world will see a full looking moon this night but in fact no one will see the disk when it’s actually full. On the 2nd the Moon is just past full when it rises in the East at Dusk. This is the first full moon since the Spring Equinox and is actually called the Paschal Full Moon. The Spring Equinox marks the point where the Sun crosses the Equator - night and day at this moment are of equal length and it signifies the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Easter falls on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, so that’s why Easter is on the 9th April this year!

A New Moon on 17th April

On April 17th an extremely young thin Crescent Moon will be visible close to the horizon and just after sunset on the Western Coast of America. It will not be until the following evening that the Moon will be visible from the Caymans

Astronomical Society Meeting on 19th April

Visible in early evening over the Western Horizon is quite a visual spectacle! The 2 day old Moon will form a triangle with the brilliant planet Venus and the star aptly named as the Red Eye of Taurus the Bull - this is in fact a red giant called Aldebaran .

Also above the Moon will be a bright group of stars called the Pleiades. This is an Open Cluster of young bright blue stars and is called various names, M45 or the Seven Sisters as well as the Maia Nebula

However the Moon will steal the show. Here is a map for a 3 day old showing some of the more obvious features. In a telescope the image may appear upside down and even reversed left to right! (It depends on the type of telescope used).

On the other side of the sky will be Saturn and through the 8 inch Society Telescope the rings will be seen as well as cloud bands on the planet’s gaseous surface. To keep up the monthly theme up to 5 of Saturn’s Moons should be visible

The Lyrid meteor shower (April 16 – 25) deserves a mention too. The radiant or the point in the sky where the meteors appear to come from will not rise until after midnight. The shower peaks this year on April 22 giving around 20 per hour at the maximum. – But you never know, we may be lucky!!

Finally a Blue Moon on 31st May

A final trick for next month! The definition of a Blue Moon is two full moons in a month – not really blue at all but something to talk about !!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I saw the BBC article on the upcoming Asia eclipse and decided to look for Chris Cooke and here I am :)

Big hello from Roger L. in the UK.

Hopefully hear from you soon :)