Adrian Dening's Stars Over Somerset

    Monday 8th to Sunday 14th April 2024

    Although by now, all the chocolate eggs will be long-gone for another year, someone asked me a question the other day about why Easter always seems to occur on different dates and as the reason is astronomical, I thought I would share it here.

    The spring or Vernal equinox, when the Earth's tilt of 23.5 degrees is sideways on to the Sun and we therefore have equal periods of daylight and darkness, takes place on 21st March each year. Easter Sunday is always the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the equinox.

    On a completely different subject, Mars and Saturn will appear very close together on the morning of Thursday 11th. They will be tricky to spot as day breaks, but try looking towards the east south east at 5.30am and the pair will be just rising above the horizon. Please don't be tempted to use binoculars or a telescope though, as the Sun will be rising in the same spot and you don't want to risk catching an accidental glimpse of it in your eyepiece!



    Friday 12th is an excellent opportunity to identify the longest valley on the Lunar surface known as Vallis Rheita. You will need a small telescope. At 10pm, a waxing Crescent Moon will be located towards the west, with the constellation of Orion to the left of it. Vallis Rheita is situated near the Moon's south east limb and I have included a photograph to help find it, courtesy of astronomer Andrew Planck.



    www.starsoversomerset.com
    Screenshots courtesy of Stellarium
    Copyright Adrian Dening and Radio Ninesprings 2024

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