With the equinox behind us we welcome the last month of autumn and the end of daylight saving.

Moon phases this month are: third quarter April 1, new moon on the 7th, first quarter on the 14th, full moon on the 22nd and another third-quarter moon on the 30th, so we have two third-quarter moons in one month. It is not that rare, about as rare as blue moons, about every 2.7 years.

This month's moon is called the harvest moon or blood moon. As for the planets, Mercury is lost in the glare of the sun, setting about half an hour after sunset. Jupiter, Mars and Saturn rule the evening sky. Having spent the beginning of the year as morning sky objects, the magnificent three now stroll across the evening sky. Jupiter is unmistakable. Look for a bright golden yellow object low in the east just after sunset. It easily out shines everything else and will be the first to appear after sunset.

About three hours later it is joined by Mars, rising with the distinctive, hook-shaped constellation Scorpio. About 10pm Saturn rises in the constellation Sagittarius.

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There is not much left in the morning sky for observers this month. Venus is vanishing into the morning gloam as it sinks lower each day. It is almost gone by month's end.

For more information about this, or anything else astronomical, contact the Rotorua Astronomical Society on Facebook.

- Brian Hurren

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