Observations

April 2008 night sky guide and podcast

To help you learn about the southern night sky, Sydney Observatory provides a night sky star map or chart for each month of the year. We also provide an audio guide of the month’s night sky, presented by one of Sydney Observatory astronomy experts – this month, Geoff Wyatt, the Manager of Sydney Observatory. You can listen online, or download the audio onto your ipod or mp3 player. Links to the audio and the star map are below.

Highlights to look out for this month are the planets: Saturn, Venus and Mars. Geoff also tells us to look out for the constellation of Leo (and how Egyptian priests used it to predict when the Nile River would flood), Virgo, Libra, Taurus, Orion and the Southern Cross (and what it represents to different Aboriginal peoples in Australia).

And, as usual, Geoff’s tour also ranges across a host of other topics, including Ptolemy and Jason and the Argonauts. And he poses the immortal question: How could the family Robinson in the TV series, ‘Lost in Space’ get lost on their way to the bright star, Alpha Centauri, when it can be seen from Earth?

For much more information and detail in star charts for months from December 2007 until December 2008 inclusive, plus information about the Sun and twilight and the Moon and tides, and a host of other fascinating astronomical information, we recommend you purchase (only $16.95 and available now) the 2008 Australian sky guide by Sydney Observatory’s Dr Nick Lomb. Available online and at Sydney Observatory and Powerhouse Museum shops.

The free monthly night sky map PDF (below) shows the stars, constellations and planets visible in the night sky from anywhere in Australia. To view PDF star charts you will need to download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader if it’s not on your computer already.

April 2008 night sky map

Read the transcript.

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