THE SOLAR SYSTEM IN APRIL 2021
NZDT comes to an end at 3am on Sunday 4 April. NZ then reverts to NZST, 12 hours ahead of UTC. Consequently dates and times shown are NZDT (UT + 13 hours) up to early Sunday morning on April 4. For the rest of April NZST applies. Rise and Set times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ. Data is adapted from that shown by GUIDE 9.1.
THE SUN and PLANETS in APRIL2021, Rise & Set Mag. & Cons. Apr 1 NZDT Apr 30 NZST Mag Cons Rise Set Mag Cons Rise Set SUN -26.7 Psc 7.33am 7.14pm -26.7 Ari 7.04am 5.31pm Merc -0.5 Aqr 6.08am 6.46pm -1.2 Ar1 8.11am 5.59pm Venus -4.0 Psc 7.40am 7.23pm -3.9 Ari 7.50am 5.57pm Mars 1.3 Tau 1.09pm 10.15pm 1.6 Gem 11.35am 8.35pm Jup -2.1 Cap 3.26am 5.19pm -2.2 Aqr 12.57am 2.38pm Sat 0.8 Cap 2.24am 4.45pm 0.7 Cap 11.39pm 1.56pm Uran 5.9 Ari 9.55am 8.22pm 5.9 Ari 7.09am 5.33pm Nep 8.0 Aqr 5.49am 6.28pm 7.9 Aqr 3.00am 3.36pm Pluto 14.6 Sgr 1.06am 4.03pm 14.5 Sgr 10.13pm 1.10pm April 1 NZDT April 30 NZST Twilights morning evening morning evening Civil: start 7.09am, end 7.40pm start 6.38am, end 5.58pm Nautical: start 6.37am, end 8.12pm start 6.05am, end 6.30pm Astro: start 6.04am, end 8.44pm start 5.33am, end 7.02pm FEB PHASES OF THE MOON, times NZST & UT Last quarter: Apr 4 at 10.03pm (10:03 UT) New Moon: Apr 12 at 2.31pm (02:31 UT) First quarter: Apr 20 at 6.49pm (06:59 UT) Full Moon: Apr 27 at 3.32pm (03:32 UT)
THE PLANETS in APRIL 2021
MERCURY starts April as a morning object, rising 85 minutes before the Sun on the 1st. Over the next 18 days the planet closes in on the Sun until mid April,superior conjunction being on the 19th. At its closest at 1pm NZST Mercury will be 20 arc minutes south, above, the Sun, ie less than a solar diameter but, of course, completely unobservable. It becomes a nominal evening object for the rest of the month but is too close to the Sun for observation.
VENUS is also too close to the Sun for observation and is close to Mercury towards the end of April: they are just over a degree apart on the 26th.
MARS sets approximately 3 hours after the Sun all month, so it is visible in the early evening sky. The planet moves from Taurus to Gemini on the 24th. It is well north of the celestial equator so low in southern skies. The crescent moon will be about 3° from Mars at 7pm on the 17th. A few hours later the moon will occult Mars, an event visible from equatorial Africa.
JUPITER and SATURN move further up into the morning sky With Saturn rising just before midnight by the 30th. Jupiter rises at 1am. The crescent moon is a few degrees from Saturn on the morning of April 7 and a similar distance from Jupiter the next morning.
PLUTO, is also a morning object, still in Sagittarius. It rises more than an hour before Saturn.
URANUS is at conjunction with the Sun at the end April. Like Mercury and Venus it will be unobservable during the month. Venus passes Uranus on the 23rd when the two will be only a quarter degree apart with Venus to the south of Uranus. The following day Mercury will be three quarters of a degree to the north of Uranus.
NEPTUNE moves up into the morning sky, rising 4 hours before the Sun by April 30.
POSSIBLE BINOCULAR ASTEROIDS in April April 1 NZDT April 30 NZST Mag Cons transit Mag Cons transit (1) Ceres 9.0 Cet 1.50pm 9.1 Psc 11.34am (4) Vesta 6.5 Leo 11.37pm 7.0 Leo 8.37pm
CERES is at conjunction with the Sun on the 7th so too close to the Sun for observation all month.
VESTA, an evening object rises nearly 2 hours before the Sun sets on the 1st and over 3 hours before on the 30th. The asteroid, in Leo, is stationary on April 22.