Sunday, April 30, 2023

reported white rows problem

Reported the glitchy problem with SkyTools.

The list items turning white, even while Night Vision Mode is active, when "touching" the list.

Fortunately, I can correct it: turn it off and on again.

Thankfully, I have the red gel film installed.


Greg wonders if it might be a driver issue.

I'll do some testing...

He also encouraged me to try to replicate the error in Real-Time Mode.

It's weird, I think, how I have never used this mode so far. That speaks to many things: not having my own 'scope up north at the beginning of 2022, data cable troubles, health issues, and in the end, simply not finding an opportunity to hook everything up to drive the Vixen Super Polaris from the new Surface... Bizarre.

examined May almanac

To plan for May, I fired up the amazing COELIX APEX on John Starbird and took screen snaps.

The chart and listing highlight interesting celestial events for the month.

I used the "sky tonight" and the "phenomena of the month" reports.

Data based on local daylight time for St Thomas in south-western Ontario.

graphic almanac for May

I did not create or add a legend.

The planets are shown with lines in the following colours:

  • grey - Mercury
  • white - Venus
  • orange - Mars
  • yellow - Jupiter
  • green - Saturn
  • aquamarine - Uranus
  • dark blue - Neptune


  • light blue - midnight

Venus is prominent in the evening sky but starts dipping. Saturn begins the shift from morning to evening skies. Mars crosses midnight. And Jupiter climbs out of the morning dawn...

And here's the list of notable events.

events for May 2023

There you have it. 


Here's the "phenomena" report. Each entry starts with day number.

  1. 00:43 -  opposition of asteroid 32 Pomona (dist. to Sun = 2.392 AU; mag = 10.3)
  2. 22:24 -  meteor shower : Eta Aquarids (50/hour at zenith; duration = 38 days) [full Moon, boo!]
  3. 09:13 -  comet C/2020 V2 ZTF perihelion (dist. to Sun = 2.228 AU; mag = 10.9)
  4. 21:38 -  comet C/2020 K1 PANSTARRS perihelion (dist. to Sun = 3.073 AU; mag = 12.5)
  5. 23:46 -  close encounter between Mars and Pollux, 5.0°
  6. 12:21 -  close encounter between Venus and M 35, 1.8°
  7. 05:58 -  simultaneous transits on Jupiter: one satellite and shadows of two satellites
  8. 14:04 -  meteor shower : Eta Lyrids (3/hour at zenith; duration = 11 days) [Moon still bright, low ZHR...]
  9. 04:45 -  beginning of lunar occultation of 95-psi3 Aqr (mag = 4.99)
  10. 08:48 -  end of lunar occultation of Jupiter (mag = -2.06)
  11. 05:18 -  opposition of asteroid 44 Nysa (dist. to Sun = 2.590 AU; mag = 10.2)
  12. 22:35 -  beginning of lunar occultation of 76 Gem (mag = 5.30)
  13. 23:31 -  end of occultation of 76 Gem

Now we've a decent list of events for May 2023...

proofed JRASC materials

Proof-read two items for the Journal.

My letter to the editor.

And my usual Binary Universe column.

Which is unusual. This time.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

reviewed a DS app

Reviewed another RASC Double Stars certificate.

This marks the 8th one awarded.

This doubles the number for Deep-Sky Gems.

Woo hoo.

One more will tie Deep-Sky Challenges...

It pushed this year's total over 10. 

This ties the maximum received, 3, per year...

And I'm happy for the newly certified RASC observer too.

Onward and upwards.

received new newsletter

Oh ho.

A new message from Astronomy By Night. The first newsletter!

How about that.

Nice. Attractive layout. Not too long. Delivered on International Astronomy Day, no less. Very apropos.

the first newsletter from ABN

Items referred to:

Dr. Tyler discusses the Square Kilometre Array Organisation, among other things.

Astrophoto of the Week winner.

That Phaethon’s comet-like tail is not made of dust.

This Week’s Night Sky.

And how light pollution is a growing issue.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

noted clear skies

Received an email associated with my St Thomas profile.

Clear skies?

Subject: CSAC Alarm for 2023-04-27 19:00:00
Date: 2023-04-27 16:23

Opportunities to observe at: (Clouds/Trans/Seeing)
04-27 @ Hour 19 for 3 hours (0%/Above Ave./Average)


Tuesday, April 25, 2023

planned some podcasts

Chris B and I have been chatting.

He wants me back for more podcasts on Actual Astronomy.

Sometime in June.

I'll keep you posted.


The All Greek To Me podcast is available to fill your ears.

Monday, April 24, 2023

new website launches

Received a press release from Carina.

I am pleased to present it here.

Canada needs more astronomy!

Former SkyNews editor launches new website for Canada’s amateur astronomy community.


Astronomy by Night is a new Canadian website covering astronomy news, stargazing, astrophotography, gear and tech, and more.

MONTRÉAL, QC, April 24, 2023 - Astronomy by Night is announcing the official launch of its new Canadian website ( for the amateur astronomy community in Canada. The project was created by former SkyNews editor Carina Ockedahl as a result of the closure of the long-time publication.

Astronomy by Night web site

Astronomy by Night is a website that caters to the amateur astronomy community in Canada. It offers news, features, astrophotography and observing articles, gear and tech reviews, profiles, columns, videos, podcasts, and more.  

“With Astronomy by Night, we aim to cover everything from the night sky to the latest news and discoveries from space, along with Canada’s growing involvement in the industry,” said Carina Ockedahl, founder and editor of Astronomy by Night. “We will be providing information for people that are new to astronomy, while also catering to amateur astronomers and astrophotographers.”

Some of the website’s contributors include former SkyNews writers Alan Dyer and Chris Vaughan, and former SkyNews photo judge Dan Kusz, who will be reviewing Astronomy by Night’s weekly photo submissions. Charles Ennis, president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), will contribute a regular column on world asterisms.

Ockedahl has also reached out to astronomy researchers and professors across Canada to ensure their work is also covered on the website. And several collaborations are in the works.

Astronomy by Night collaborated with Simulation Curriculum (SkySafari), the Actual Astronomy podcast, Heavens-Above, and Clayton’s Exploration Station — the last of which will see family-friendly astronomy-related videos appear on the website.

For the Québec market, there are plans to include French audio recordings of certain English language articles, along with a voice from the province to create a well-rounded team. This is all part of phase one.

“The success of this website will depend largely on how well it is received by our readers,” said Ockedahl. “It is a project that we are testing — one that was infused with passion and an incredible amount of support from volunteers, contributors, and some suppliers, manufacturers, and collaborators. Without their support, Astronomy by Night would not be possible.”

For further information, please visit the website at

imaged M9 (Halifax)

While reviewing my Messier life list, I noted that I had only two viewings log of Messier 9, and neither seemed very satisfying. So, I thought I'd collect some photons, by another means.

Asked BGO to image the globular cluster in Ophiuchus.

Did not wait long! Less than a day in the queue? Nice.

globular cluster Messier 9

Luminance only, 60 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, GIMP. North is up; east is left.

Loosely packed, steady distribution of stars. Small. An attractive conglomeration.

Seems to be a void at the bottom-right (south-west). Is this Barnard 64?

Looks like there's lots of double stars in the 'hood...

Also known as NGC 6333.


Wikipedia link: Messier 9.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

heard from sis

Sis texted me.

"Any aurora action tonight?"

I shared that the numbers were good but it was cloudy.

She shared that the Weather Network had a teaser...

worked on Backyard course

Did a bunch of work to prep for the next run of the Backyard software training course.

The first run, I taught for the EOS version, for Canon users only.

But upon review, with valuable input from Ian B, it is apparent that the course, for RASC members, will work for Backyard Nikon as well.

title slide for revised deck

Today I worked on the slide deck, the pre-work course materials, the Quick Reference Card, the web site info page and application form, and the script.

I think I'm ready. 

Next session: end of May.


I am also thrilled to see many sign up for the next course! There's gonna be a good turnout.

caught up at last

Caught up with Jeannette

Thanked her again for nice card.

We chatted about various matters astronomy.

shared kp info

Posted on the RASC London forums, in Late Breaking News. After reviewing the email alert from SPWC and checking hello aurora on Mnemosyne.

Aurora hitting kp-index 8. With a good Bz value!

But, noted, the local weather wasn't looking good.


Andrew, Dale, and Peter thanked me.


Peter shared the OVATION aurora oval snap. Intense!

OVATION aurora display

Looked real good for the west-coasters.

received notification of kp 8

Watched alerts roll in through the day... From the SWPC Product Subscription Service.

A kp-index 5 rating at 10:20 AM.

2:34 PM, kp 6.

3:32 PM, kp 7.

Just hit 8!

Saturday, April 22, 2023

spotted something headed our way

Reviewed the site (for the 22nd).

Noted an update on recent solar activity. The text supported the SDO surface imagery and the SOHO coronagraphs.

"A large magnetic filament snaking across the sun's southern hemisphere exploded, hurling a cloud of debris in our direction."

Something was coming our way...

Thursday, April 20, 2023

eclipse from the Moon

The Japanese ispace lunar lander snapped an image as it started to go 'round the Moon.

It is an Earth-set photo, beautiful in its own right.

But it is particularly interesting for another reason.

If you look closely, you'll notice a dark smudge on the home planet.

Earth from Moon during solar eclipse

That's the solar eclipse happening near Australia!


Missed it, at the time.

Monday, April 17, 2023

started beautification

Started a beautification project over on the companion site...

The Messier page.

I'm not sure why I did this but the Messier life list page structure was quite different than the other pages of the lumpy darkness companion. It's probably a sequence/legacy thing, one of the first evergreen pages that I made. Doing it quick and fast?

Anyhoo, I want it to be like the other pages.

The first stage I finished quickly. It is done. I used a format consistent with the NGC and other DSO pages. For those technically inclined, I'm using a "definition list" HTML element where I had previously used a bulleted list.

Stage 2 is weaving in the observations, briefly. Visual sessions and image runs.

This second part will take a while...

I like it. Less bouncing around now. Less hunting through long blog posts.

received Starfest update

Received a note from North York Astronomical Association.

The Starfest 2023 update for April.

This year's theme is Charting The Universe.

baseball cap

The main event is scheduled for August 17 - 20. It'll be there 40th event!

I learned the Friday night keynote speaker is Mr Eclipse, Fred Espenak. And on Saturday evening, Dr Katherine Mack, the Hawking Chair in Cosmology and Science Communication at the Perimeter Institute.

That's a cool line-up.

It also noted that the Saturday Night Banquet is back. That was one of the highlights for me.

they stood down

Learned SpaceX scrubbed.

The next launch attempt for Starship will be at least 48 hours out.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

200 plus for level 2

With Ian B's delivery of the Stellarium intermediate course this evening, we broke 200.

Over 200 people have taken the level 2 training!

209 by my accounting.

(We're closing in on 300 for the intro.)

Nice little milestone.

And we're still going strong! 

The intermediate course remains popular with a lot of participants wanting it after their introductory level 1 session and with a handful of direct sign-ups.

Only Ian and I teach it so we have to keep on it. To keep the waiting list from swelling, we're having to offer it to RASC members 2 times a month.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

surprise arrived

Text from sis.

With photo.

She thanked me for the Mi'kmaw Moons book co-authored by Dave Chapman.

Signed copy.

Sent direct, for the surprise factor.

I hope she likes it.

observed some doubles (St Thomas)

Put the Meade ETX telescope outside to cool down.


Put the fabric blind up.


Created an observing list with a number of entries from Sissy Haas's book, double stars for small telescopes, suggestions never viewed, greater than 2" apart, selecting constellations that were well positioned. Ended up with 50+ double stars. Good stuff.


Astro chair was already outside, used during the day.

Put a strap on the eyeglasses. Tight fit!

9:05 PM. Fired up Sony recorder. The battery level was good. Amazing.

Moved outside. Relieved to sit down. Barkie McBark was at it. Frickin' humans. Pigs.

Took in the whole sky. Something due south. Checked the field in the SkyTools 4 Interactive Atlas.

Forgot the keyboard light.

Hit the "time now" button, then turned it off. Wondered if I was seeing a Virgo star. Or was it Alphard?  In the south... Time was 9:07 PM. If the software was right, Spica was in the tree. And Leo was above? Yes. Craned to look. I spotted it, up high. Decided to start on Denebola.

SkyTools bug emerged. Grouped or sorted by constellation and the list went white. Had to flip the Night Vision mode off and on.

In the Leo group, I applied a check mark to all the entry (with the S key). Then showed them in the IA chart. Good, some close to Denebola.

Spotted a satellite in the Meade finder.

Tried to focus the finder. Used the Canon eyepiece rotation thing.

Turned on the tracking motor power pack. Heard the motor note.

Needed some eyepieces and the USB keyboard light. Headed inside briefly.

Noted a bit of drift. Rotated the mount a bit clockwise. Got back on target. Oops. I didn't have the RA lock on... So maybe the rotation wasn't necessary?

Installed the Celestron Plössl 26mm to start. Confirmed the view in the software, in the Eyepiece Viewer.

Denebola was bright and yellow.

9:18. Noted a somewhat bright star a third or a quarter of the field down, HR 4531 (a double by the way). Two faint stars between. The in-line star was the super-wide companion of β (beta) Leonis, Burnham 604, the D star. The other was Tycho 00870-0314 1 (at magnitude 10). A good starting point.

Centred. Aligned the finder scope.

Activated the finder scope in the software (turning off the Star Diagonal mode).

Noted another satellite. Was I seeing a constellation of artificial satellites.

Then a bright one, going a different direction, from right to left.

Spotted dwarf SSO Ceres in the chart. Near... Interesting. But no.

Considered a nearby target to split. Not 95 Leo... HD 103152 aka SHJ 132. Faint star! Wasn't sure. Wanted more power so I installed the baader planetarium zoom eyepiece. Studied for a long time - inconclusive.

Wasn't sure where I was with the ocular. Which magnification was I at? Didn't know when the index was. Didn't have any portable red light to shine on it...

Frustrated with the computer. Also confused by an incorrection entry to the list. I thought I had been careful but I had added the C companion to the observing list.

You've got to be kidding. ST4 said it was magnitude 13.3! That was hovering over C in the Interactive Atlas (though the Object Information screen said 11.5). Separation: 92 seconds of arc. [ed: Stelle Doppie says C is magnitude 13.27. Notably, reported 6 times (compared to 37) with the last entry from 2013.]

B on the other hand was 10.1 (or 9.8)... Sep 39.0".

Wait! I saw a very faint star pointing straight up!

9:38. Averted, it popped. Wide. Straight up, roughly north. North-north-east. The B star. Gotcha! Noted the two bright stars above including HD 103111 and SAO 99842. When I looked to the right, it popped. Barely visible direct. So faint. Really hard to get any colour. Added to the list and marked observed. Looked for C in the software, even fainter, to the west. B was almost pointing perfectly at the faint star above TYC 01441-1537 1.

Average seeing. It came and went.

I was unclear about whether B or C was the target from Haas's book.

Figured out where I was in terms of magnification by counting. I was in the middle, so 16 mm. I went one notch out, to the 20 mm. I could still see it.

Checked the gap to the roof. Considered the next target.

Sore. Crouching, not sitting straight. Wondered when I could take my next painkiller. Ah, overdue. Went inside. Took a Tylenol 1 and grabbed the Deep Red flashlight.

Started off to the next quarry. Found it. Easy!

9:52. Easy pair. HD 100600 aka 90 Leonis. HR 4456, HIP 56473, STF 1552.

Moved the chair more in-line with the eyepiece to stop twisting my body. Set the BigDOC to a better height. Much better. Much much better.

I had not seen the AB pair; it was C. 67". Mag 6 and 9. Extremely wide at 24 mm. Yellow and blue, I wanted to say. Faint C was to the 7 o'clock position, blue?. Through the middle of PPM 128353 and TYC 01438-2633 1. Jumped in zoom two stops. A split! Yeah. B was pointing around 6:30... Look at that. Got it. Sweet! Worth it. B was slightly fainter than A, maybe one mag; C was much fainter, maybe 3 or 4.

Felt a little cool. Grabbed a sweater.

Went up one more notch, 12 mm. Yellow, orange, colourless? Or orange? Pretty neat. Glad I saw that. [ed: From ST4, AB at 3.4" and AC at 67.0".] [ed: Smyth said "silvery white, purplish, and pale red."]

Nice. Yellow and red?

10:07. Viewed HD 101302. SAO 99718, HIP 56875, Struve 1565. Nice separation, ST4 said 21.7". The faint cohort was at 10 o'clock, so west-west-north. No field stars. Ah, tagged TYC 01440-0345 1, above, NNE.

Checked the spacing to the balcony overhang. Couldn't go for the next item in Leo...

10:24. I needed a break. Went inside for a bit.

10:42. Shifted to Virgo. Started tagging targets and once again SkyTools flipped into white mode.

Procyon as the starting point. [ed: Huh? I think I meant Porrima. Procyon in CMi was not visible.]

Could see what I was after... Tried to identify the field stars in the finder. Stoopid.

10:54. Realised I was on Spica, not Porrima!

Had to pull the blind down a bit...

I wasn't sure. I thought I was at 81 Virginis but the field didn't look right. Gave up on that one.

Now Spica was high enough I didn't need to grab the blind. Of course it was rising, currently in the south-east.

Star hopped to 72 Vir.

Didn't see a pair. Oh. Five magnitudes different. Wow. Kept trying... Nope.

Someone pinged me on TextNow. [ed: Sis. She thanked me for her astro book, delivered.]

Aimed at Heze aka ζ (zeta) Vir to begin a new star hop. Moved to HD 118036 aka SAO 139416, HIP 66212, STF 1757.

A very faint star. I did not see a double. I surmised it was a very tight pair. Indeed, SkyTools said less than 2 arc-seconds. Nutty. The software showed it was a quad but I did not see obvious additional partners.

Moving on...

Finally! Happily I found a nice pair. Nearly identical pair.

11:30. Both blue white. Nearly the same magnitude. Quite wide at the low power of the zoom. Attractive. West was to my 8 o'clock. The left star was brighter. On pointing: 7.1 and 7.3. From the OI box: 7.1 and 7.5. HD 116442 aka SAO 119909, HIP 65352, Σ1740.

Saw the mount jumping, obvious at higher magnifications. I need to do another tear-down. The motor was struggling. Like what happens with the manual adjustment, it jumps. Need to short it. Distracting.

11:37. Wanted a pair that would blow the socks off... Reclined in the deck chair and looked for a good candidate to finish up on. I picked stars with angular separations between 10 and 30 arc-seconds. Nothing fainter than mag 9. Noted something near Porrima.

Located γ (gamma) Vir. Lovely Porrima. Two touching equal gold stars. Started the hop... [ed: 3.0" according to Stelle Doppie.]

Nice! Blue and yellow.

11:50. A little bit tighter than the previous. Oriented nearly up and down. HR 4678 aka HD 106976, SAO 138704, HIP 59984, STF 1627. Mag 6.6 and 7.0 stars. 19.8". The faint companion was below, to the south-west. 6.6 and 7.1. Nice. Delicate. A bright star was down and right, about the 4 o'clock position, HD 107037.

Almost midnight. Decided to call it quits. It'd be midnight by the time I would be done. Started packing up. Noted everything to bring in, including the deck chair seat cushions and the astronomy adjustable-height chair.

Took to the couch to rest and review. Ditched the sweater.

12:10. Oh. Done recording. Remembered that clear out the Sony recorder... And that I'll need to pack the data cable.


I was going to say a short session but it was 3 hours. Didn't see a lot but I was still happy to split some more double stars - in a small 'scope, the 90mm. Checked off a few more from Haas's book. Got a bit of work done!

Wonderful again, with the blind up. Enjoyable. Curiously I noticed "backward" light pollution. I had to cup my hands about the eyepiece to reduce the reflections, from the wall and roof!

Rather nice conditions. Almost shirt sleeve. Low humidity (I had noticed very short contrails earlier in the day).

To do items:

  • Clear out old recordings on Sony digital device.
  • Need to add a bright obvious mark to the zoom ocular so I know where the detent index is. Glow-in-the-dark dot?
  • Need to pack everything up...
  • Fix the mount sticktion.


noted the alarm for the chart

Lots of notifications from Clear Sky Alarm Clock.

For St T, Fingal, and the BGO Clear Sky Charts!

Subject:  CSAC Alarm for 2023-04-12 19:00:00 at St Thomas
Date:  2023-04-12 18:23
From:  "Clear Sky Alarm Clock" <>

Favorable observing conditions at St. Thomas
Based on your St Thomas subscription.

Opportunities to observe at:  (Clouds/Trans/Seeing)
04-12 @ Hour 19 for 5 hours (0%/Above Ave./Average)
04-13 @ Hour 04 for 6 hours (0%/Above Ave./Average)

Check out your clock at

Maybe I should set up the small 'scope...

Sunday, April 09, 2023

met Greg

Met Greg Crinklaw in person.

He's headed to New York for the NEAIC.

But before that, with his lovely wife, he is touring around Ontario and Québec.

It was a real treat to meet. 

We had a lot of fun as I played impromptu tour guide for the Greater Toronto Area.

Saturday, April 08, 2023

very late

Uploaded my draft for the Journal.

Very late!

It's a bit different, this piece for the Binary Universe column...

received bug acknowledgment

Received an email from the GitHub site.

It indicate Georg Zotti of the Stellarium dev team was working on the observing list issue I reported.

All right! Hopefully, the bug will will be fixed in the next release, 23.2.


Relayed the news to the Stellarium Classroom...

Thursday, April 06, 2023

taught level 3 again

1 I delivered another level 3 advanced Stellarium course this evening.

2 Good turn out.

Everyone seemed pretty happy.

Over 60 people have gone through this course.

There were a couple interested in the jam session concept. Maybe I'll finally run that this quarter...


At the last minute, I noted the version was slightly old. Dang. I wanted to teach under the newest, 23.1, to see if everything worked OK. 

learned of receipt

Received a note from Murray H.

The latest RASC member to complete the Double Stars certificate program.

We had been chatting about when he might expect his package.

Both my DS certificate and the pin arrived in the mail today!  Thank-you so much - I really appreciate the personalized comments on my certificate.  Take care, and thanks again for all you do.

That made me happy.

invited to speak on doubles

Received a message from David L.

He's in a western RASC centre.

We talked about this a while ago.

You offered to do a quick presentation for us on double stars.  I mentioned this at a recent SIG and there is definitely an interest in it.  We meet on the first Tuesday of each month. 


Need to stare at the calendar...

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

asked for dates

I reached out to the Stellarium trainers, asking for possible dates in May and June.

I shared that there was a tremendous response to the latest RASC Weekly e-newsletter.

About two dozen members signed up for Stellarium courses, mostly level 1.

They are keepin' us busy.

over 280

Another level 1 introduction to Stellarium is in done and dusted.

Thanks to Al M.

Received his brief report. Another 10 RASC members served. 

Now, we've trained over 280 people!

Monday, April 03, 2023

learned Hansen was selected

Heard the great news.

The next Artemis crew was announced by NASA today. I heard this via a Global News TV spot on YouTube.

Jeremy Hansen was named! Woo hoo.

Koch, Glover, Wiseman, and Hansen

Hansen with Glover, Wiseman, and Koch will participate in the Artemis II mission which will be the first crewed mission with the SLS system. They will orbit the Moon and conduct a battery of tests. The next stage in the Artemis series.

He will be the first Canadian to orbit the Moon.

Hansen was selected as an astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency about 14 years ago. He is a patient man.

He was born just outside London, Ontario. He went to high school in Ingersoll.


There is a press release on the CSA web site.

Found a video at the NASA site.


Stephen Colbert had the astronauts on The Late Show for a very funny interview.

Part two of the Colbert interview.

received shipping note

Learned the surprise package is on its way.

Woo hoo.

Dave C informed me that my order was dropped to the post office.

He said, "I included a note that it was a gift from you."


Saturday, April 01, 2023

tried new Stellarium features

I wanted check out some of the changes in Stellarium, the latest version.

Went to download it to the Linux laptop but found it already present. Oh! 23.1 showed on the splash screen.

Part of the Ubuntu "snap" system, the auto-updating packing system, I guess. Already loaded. Good.

I went through the entire release document and specifically observed differences and changes and tried a few things.

The ecliptic line now shows dates, by default. Ugh, why? I'm not sure why this is necessary. I found it distracting. But, no worries, it can easily be suppressed. Just pop into Sky and viewing options window (F4 or Fn F4) and click the Markings tab. The Ecliptic (of date) option has a new Solar Dates checkbox.

The Sun appears to always shows a corona. I suppose that's technically correct...

I noted limb darkening on the Sun's image, when zoomed in sufficiently.

The font control in annotated landscapes is a welcome improvement.

The Bookmarks window is different, flattened, with no secondary screen now. That will reduce clicks a bit, I think. But otherwise, everything appears the same. I still wish for other changes here but... it works.

Finally, I was curious about an added feature, "GUI [interface option for] manually entering FOV (GH: #3093, #3013)." I wondered where that was. After some digging, I found it in the Sky and viewing options window, the Sky tab, in the Projection section. Nice! This'll be handy for zoom levels not provided by the "stepped" keyboard shortcuts.

made almanac for April

Launched COELIX APEX on John Starbird and took screen snaps.

Let's all settle down after the media hullabaloo about a big planetary alignment...

Here's the graph for April only. For my home but applicable to much of south-western Ontario.

graphic almanac for April

I did not create or add a legend.

The planets are shown with lines in the following colours:

  • grey - Mercury
  • white - Venus
  • orange - Mars
  • yellow - Jupiter
  • green - Saturn
  • aquamarine - Uranus
  • dark blue - Neptune


  • light blue - midnight

And here's the list of notable events.

events for Apr 2023

A few additional observations:

  • after the maximum elongation in the west, speedy Mercury appears in the dawn sky at the end of April
  • Venus blazes high up in the west
  • Mars, early in the month, is a late-night target but draws close to midnight by the end of April
  • mid-month Jupiter transitions to the morning 
  • Saturn emerges in the morning
  • Neptune is low in the dawn sky all month

And finally, we're in the steep part of the hourglass. The nights are getting shortly, rapidly!

There you have it. 


Later, I pulled the "phenomena" report. Each entry starts with date.

  • 11 - close encounter between Venus and the Pleiades (2.6°)
  • 22 - meteor shower, Lyrids (18 meteors/hour at zenith; duration = 9.0 days), near the new Moon phase!
  • 26 - close encounter between the Moon and Mars (2.6°)
  • 30 - comet C/2021 Y1 ATLAS at its perihelion (dist. to the Sun = 2.033 AU; magn. = 12.1)

Now I've got a decent list of events for April...