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Thursday, 25 April 2019  •  Thursday, 20 Willow Moon 2019


Watching the night sky in Willow Moon 2019

6 April - 4 May 2019

Map of night sky at full moon: 19 April, 11:12 UTC
Northern hemisphere perspective, aligned on the ecliptic. Morning sky to the left, evening to the right.

night sky map for Willow Moon 2019

Mars is in the evening sky, setting before midnight. The crescent moon is nearby on 9 April. Also nearby, just south of the moon, is the star Aldebaran, the bright, red star of Taurus that, at present, is brighter than the red planet. Mars is between Aldebaran and the Pleiades.

Jupiter rises soon after midnight, and shines brightly for the rest of the night. On the morning of 23 April, the moon is just north of the giant planet.

Saturn is in the constellation Sagittarius in the morning sky, rising less than two hours after Jupiter. On 25 April, the moon passes close to Saturn, and occults it in the dark as seen from eastern Australia, New Zealand and the south-western Pacific. As seen from Sydney, New South Wales, the occultation lasts from 22:58 to 23:26 (12:58 to 13:26 UTC). From Auckland, New Zealand, 00:34 to 01:42 on 26 April (25 Apr, 12:34 to 13:42 UTC).

From northern lands, Venus has disappeared into the dawn, but in the southern part of the northern hemisphere, and the whole of the southern hemisphere, you can see the bright planet low down in the east before dawn. Here, you can also see Mercury, nearer to the sunrise. On 11 April, Mercury reaches 28°W of the sun in the western evening sky. It’s a really great view from the south, where Mercury will be visible for about two weeks before and four weeks afterwards. Here also, on 2 and 3 May, you can see the very old crescent moon south of Venus and Mercury. On 10 April, Venus passes 17 minutes of arc south of Neptune. From more southern lands, see if you can see the pair in the same telescope field.

Look out for the Lyrid meteors on the night 22/23 April, especially after midnight.



The month ahead: Hawthorn Moon 2019

5 May - 3 June 2019

Map of night sky at full moon: 18 May, 21:11 UTC
Northern hemisphere perspective, aligned on the ecliptic. Morning sky to the left, evening to the right.

night sky map for Hawthorn Moon 2019

Mars is in the western evening sky, with the crescent moon nearby on 7 May; it passes into the constellation Gemini on 16 May. Right at the end of the month, as seen from the northern hemisphere, the planet Mercury may be visible, low down in the north-west after sunset, well below Mars, but substantially brighter than the red planet.

Jupiter rises in the late evening and shines very brightly for the rest of the night, as it approaches opposition early next month. On the evening of 20 May, the moon is just north of the giant planet. The fainter Saturn rises around midnight, and can easily be seen in the north of the constellation Sagittarius. On the night 22/23 May, the moon passes close to Saturn, and occults it in darkness as seen from the southern Indian Ocean and nearby parts of Antarctica. From Port-aux-Français in the Kerguelen Islands, the occultation lasts from 02:24 to 03:39 on 23 May (22 May, 21:24 to 22:39 UTC).

Venus is travelling towards the far side of the sun, but holds on in the morning sky for viewers south of about 50°N, low down in the ENE before dawn. On 18 May, it passes a degree or so south of Uranus. Look to see them together through binoculars. You may be able to see the very old moon near Venus on 2 June.

On the night 26/27 May, the minor planet Ceres comes closest to Earth, 262 million kilometres or 14.6 light minutes away; it sits in the great asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Look for it through binoculars on the borders of Ophiuchus and Scorpius.

Look out for the Eta Aquarid meteors on 6/7 May, especially after midnight.



William Morris
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