Sky Map: April 2019

Free Sky Map (Printable)

By Jeff DeTray from AstronomyBoy.com
April 18, 2019
Sky Map April 2019
Jeff DeTray

In Earth’s Northern Hemisphere, April is the month when the world awakes from its long winter sleep. The weather is warmer, and this encourages sky gazers to spend more time observing the heavens. Let’s follow the Moon during the middle 10 days of April as she crosses the southern sky. 

Just click here or on the image below to open the printable map—then bring outside!

April printable sky map

 

Oh, well the world is dreaming 
Under the April Moon, 

Her soul in love with beauty, 

Her senses all a-swoon! 

–William Bliss Carman, Canadian poet (1861–1929) 

The lines above begin “Under the April Moon,” a short poem by William Bliss Carman extolling this month’s glorious orb. Carman penned more than 100 poems and became Canada’s poet laureate. Several of his works mention the Moon or the night sky, and this one is the perfect rhyme to keep in mind as we follow the Moon across our April sky map. 

In Earth’s Northern Hemisphere, April is the month when the world awakes from its long winter sleep. The weather is warmer, and this encourages sky gazers to spend more time observing the heavens. Let’s follow the Moon during the middle 10 days of April as she crosses the southern sky. 

  • Beginning on April 10, the Moon is a handsome crescent near the upraised arm of Orion, the Hunter. From here, the Moon moves rapidly and grows larger each night. Just one night later, she (the Moon is always “she”) sits among the legs of the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux. In Greek mythology, the Twins were half-brothers. Pollux was the immortal son of the god Zeus. When his mortal half-brother Castor was killed, Pollux begged Zeus to make his beloved Castor immortal as well. Zeus granted the request, placing them together in the sky, forever holding hands.
  • By April 12, the Moon is still in Gemini, now directly below Pollux. (Keep reading below.)

April 2019 Sky Map

Click here or on map below to enlarge (PDF).

April 2019 Sky Map
Sky map produced using Chris Marriott’s Skymap Pro

  • One night later, on April 13, the Moon has moved into Cancer, the Crab. The stars of Cancer are rather dim, but right below it lies the somewhat brighter head of Hydra, the Water Snake. Hydra is the longest and largest of all constellations, winding all the way down to the horizon at the lower left of our map. The bright star Alphard marks the heart of the serpent. How much of Hydra can you see?
  • The Moon spends April 14 to 15 in Leo, the Lion. She’s now in her “gibbous” phase, when the illuminated portion is greater than half but less than full. During the Moon’s first night with the Lion, she is located to the upper right of the bright star Regulus, which sits at the base of the asterism known as The Sickle. By the next night, the Moon has moved to the left of Regulus and lies beneath the main body of Leo.
  • The night of April 16 brings our Moon into Virgo, the Virgin, second largest of the constellations. Over the next 3 nights, the Moon grows fatter and rounder, until she becomes full in the wee hours of April 19. The bright object to her right is Spica, the 16th brightest star. Along with Regulus and Arcturus, Spica forms the Spring Triangle, a large asterism that can help you to get your heavenly bearings during this season of the year.
  • The Moon spends the next 2 weeks growing ever smaller, first becoming gibbous again, then crescent, then finally dwindling to its New Moon phase on May 4. 

When the Moon becomes “new,” she is entirely dark from our point of view and therefore invisible. But fear not! Our beautiful Moon will soon become a thin crescent, and the whole remarkable transformation—crescent, gibbous, full, gibbous, crescent, new—will begin again. 

Note: How to Read the Sky Map

Our sky map does not show the entire sky which would be almost impossible. Instead, the monthly map focuses on a particular region of the sky where something interesting is happening that month. The legend on the map always tells you which direction you should facing, based on midnight viewing. For example, if the map legend says “Looking Southeast,” you should face southeast when using the map.

The map is accurate for any location at a so-called “mid northern” latitude. That includes anywhere in the 48 U.S. states, southern Canada, central and southern Europe, central Asia, and Japan. If you are located substantially north of these areas, objects on our map will appear lower in your sky, and some objects near the horizon will not be visible at all. If you are substantially south of these areas, everything on our map will appear higher in your sky.

The items labeled in green on the sky map are known as asterisms. These are distinctive star patterns that lie within constellations. When getting your bearings under the stars, it’s often easiest to spot an asterism and use it as a guide to finding the parent constellation.

The numbers along the white “Your Horizon” curve at the bottom of the map are compass points, shown on degrees. As you turn your head from side to side, you will be looking in the compass direction indicated by those numbers. The horizon line is curved in order to preserve the geometry of objects in the sky. If we made the horizon line straight, the geometry of objects in the sky would be distorted.

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