Skywatch Line for Wednesday, April 24th, and Thursday, April 25th, 2019

This is the Dudley Observatory Skywatch Line for Wednesday, April 24th, and Thursday, April 25th, written by Louis Suarato.

Say Goodbye to the constellation Orion as it sinks into the western horizon after sunset. To the west of Orion is Taurus, occupied by Mars, the Hyades and Pleiades star clusters, and its brightest star Aldebaran. The 74% illuminated, waning gibbous Moon sets at 9:55 a.m., and returns at 1:19 a.m. Thursday. Jupiter rises at 12 minutes before midnight, followed by Saturn at 1;33 a.m. Thursday in Sagittarius. Saturn and the gibbous Moon will be separated by less than 1 degree. A binocular view should capture both in the same field of view.

The constellation Hercules rises from the northeastern horizon before midnight, and moonrise, long enough to provide a view of M13, the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules. Discovered by Edmond Halley in 1714, M13 has a magnitude of 5.8 and can be seen with the naked eye under ideal conditions, but is spectacular when seen through a telescope. This globular cluster spans about 145 light-years in diameter, and contains several hundred thousand stars. The cluster is 22,000 light-years away from our solar system. The stars within M13 are estimated to be 12 to 13 billion years old. To find this globular cluster, look for the first bright star looking up from the north-northeastern horizon. That star is Vega, in the constellation Lyra. Scan another 20 degrees higher to what appears to be a star formation shaped like a square. Look one-third of the way between the two top stars of the square, 44 Her, and 40 Her, for M13. If you have a telescope with Go To functionality, the position of M13 is Right Ascension 16 hours, 41.7 minutes, and Declination 36 degrees, 28 minutes north.

On April 24, 1990, the space shuttle Discover was launched from Cape Canaveral carrying the Hubble Space Telescope to be placed into orbit. He Hubble Space Telescope was deployed on April 25, 1990, and continues to provide extraordinary images and discoveries to this date.

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