High­lights

Your guide to the night sky this month

Sky at Night Magazine - - CONTENTS -

THURS­DAY 1

Reg­u­lus (Al­pha ( ) _ Leo­nis) is oc­culted by the vir­tu­ally full Moon at 06:06 UT from the cen­tre of the UK. Reap­pear­ance oc­curs af­ter the Moon and Reg­u­lus have set.

FRI­DAY 2

The full Moon that oc­curs at 00:52 UT this morn­ing is the first of two that will oc­cur in March.

SUN­DAY 4

Mer­cury ap­pears 1.1° from Venus in the evening sky. Mag. –3.8 Venus acts as a beacon to lo­cate Mer­cury, but the So­lar Sys­tem’s in­ner­most planet stands its ground against the evening twilight too, shining away at mag. –1.1.

WED­NES­DAY 7

This morn­ing’s 71% waning gib­bous Moon lies 4.75° north of mag. –2.1 Jupiter. Both ob­jects are lo­cated in the con­stel­la­tion of Libra at this time and can be seen due south at 04:30 UT.

SATUR­DAY 10

To­day, it’s the turn of mag. +0.7 Mars to be close to the Moon. Spot the Red Planet and the 43% waning cres­cent Moon 3.5° apart shortly af­ter ris­ing, low in the south­east just af­ter 03:00 UT.

SUN­DAY 11

Catch the 34% waning cres­cent Moon ris­ing just af­ter 04:00 UT and you should be able to spot mag. +0.9 Saturn a lit­tle un­der 2° be­low and to the south­west of it.

TUES­DAY 13

With no moon­light to in­ter­fere, the next few evenings are a great time to take our tricky chal­lenge on page 61. This month we’re look­ing for the sub­tle cone-shaped glow known as the Zo­di­a­cal Light.

THURS­DAY 15

Evening planet Mer­cury reaches great­est eastern elon­ga­tion to­day when it will ap­pear to be sep­a­rated from the Sun by 18.4°.

FRI­DAY 16

With the Moon ab­sent in the night sky, this is a great time to try for our Deep Sky Tour tar­gets listed on page 63. This month, we’re tak­ing a look at ob­jects in the eastern part of Canes Ventatici.

SATUR­DAY 17

The new Moon makes this a great time to ex­plore the re­gion of sky known as the Realm of Gal­ax­ies, ly­ing in the as­ter­ism known as the Bowl of Virgo. This is where you’ll find the as­ter­oid 18 Melpomene, which you can read about on page 59.

SUN­DAY 18

Mag. –3.8 Venus, +0.4 Mer­cury and a slen­der 1%-lit wax­ing cres­cent Moon form a straight line low in the west af­ter sun­set. Venus should be easy to spot: Mer­cury is 3.8° above and to the right of it, while the Moon is 4.5° be­low and to the left.

MON­DAY 19

Mars is cur­rently lo­cated be­tween the La­goon Ne­bula, M8, and the Tri­fid Ne­bula, M20. It should be pos­si­ble to spot this ar­range­ment from around 03:30 UT. Mag. +0.5 Mars will ap­pear low in the south­east at this time.

TUES­DAY 20

The cen­tre of the Sun crosses the ce­les­tial equa­tor at 16:15 UT, pass­ing from the south­ern to the north­ern ce­les­tial hemi­sphere. This is a point in time known as the North­ern Hemi­sphere’s spring, or Ver­nal, equinox.

THURS­DAY 22

The 29%-lit Moon moves through the Hyades open clus­ter af­ter sun­set, pass­ing north of the V-shape’s south­ern arm. Oc­culted stars in­clude Alde­baran, which van­ishes af­ter 23:30 UT and reap­pears at 00:15 UT on 23 March.

SATUR­DAY 24

Lo­cate the Moon with a tele­scope at around 17:00 UT and see if you can spot the ray across the floor of crater Bar­row. A day­light sky will make things a lit­tle harder, but it should still be pos­si­ble to see the ef­fect.

SUN­DAY 25

At 01:00 UT this morn­ing the clocks go for­ward by one hour, mark­ing the start of Bri­tish Sum­mer Time in the UK.

TUES­DAY 27

It should be pos­si­ble to see the clair-ob­scur ef­fect known as the Jew­elled Han­dle on the Moon this morn­ing. Con­di­tions are ideal around 01:00 BST (00:00 UT). The ef­fect oc­curs when the tops of the Montes Jura around Si­nus Iridum catch the morn­ing Sun.

SATUR­DAY 31

Like Jan­uary this year, March has two full Moons and the se­cond oc­curs to­day. Al­though not the orig­i­nal mean­ing of the term, the se­cond full Moon in a month is known as a Blue Moon.

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