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The March Night Sky

The sky is not a painting, it's a movie. Stars pulse, flare, some explode as supernova, asteroids whiz by the earth, new comets appear in the sky, Aurora sets the northern skies ablaze and meteors streak through Earth's atmosphere.

 Astronomy Picture of the Day

See below Hubble site Tonight's Sky, highlights of this months night sky movie with narration below. Click on photo below.

The Full Moon for March

The Full Worm Moon March As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter. Courtesy: Farmers Almanac.

Lunar Phase

First Quarter Moon March 5 6:32 am EST
Full Moon March 12 10:54 am EDT
Last Quarter Moon March 18 11:58 am EDT
New Moon March 27 10:57 pm EDT

 

March Visible Lunar Highlights

March 14-Jupiter 2 S. of Moon, March 20-Saturn 3 S. of Moon, March 29-Mercury 7 N. of Moon, March 30-Mars 5 N. of Moon

The Planets Visibility for March

Mercury

Evening Sky W

 Mercury is visible late March in the evening sky just after sunset. On March 29th Mercury is at -0.4 magnitude with a diameter 0000'07" and phase of 50.95% in the constellation Pisces. Mercury is 0919'52" from the crescent Moon. Mercury sets at 9:05 pm. See image below for March 29th at 8:00 pm.

Venus

Lost in the Suns glare

Venus reached inferior conjunction on March 25th. Venus becomes lost in the Suns glare and returns as a morning (Morning Star) sky object low in the eastern sky last days of March early April. 

Mars

Evening Sky W

Mars March 29th is at +1.5 magnitude with a diameter 0000'04" located in the constellation Aries as a reddish orange star visible after sunset in the west. Mars sets at 10:24 pm. Mars through a telescope appears as a fuzzy object due to its distance from Earth. 

To see which part of Mars surface is visible at any time, check out the Mars Profiler at Sky & Telescope Magazine's web page.

JUPITER

Evening Sky E

Jupiter March 29th is at -2.5 magnitude with a diameter 0000'44" located in the constellation Virgo. Jupiter rises east southeast. at 8:08 pm. Jupiter reaches opposition on April 7th.

A small telescope will easily reveal four of Jupiter's largest and brightest moons. Check out Sky & Telescope's Jupiter Moons Utility for other configurations. Sky and Telescope Red Spot Calculator 

SATURN

Morning Sky ESE 

Saturn March 29th is at +0.5 magnitude with a diameter 0000'17" located in the constellation Sagittarius. Saturn rises at 1:46 am. Saturn's ring tilt is +26.4. Saturn is best viewed when higher in the eastern sky after 4:00 am till dawn. Saturn as seen at 4:30 am on March 29th.

See: Saturn's moons locations 

URANUS

Evening  Sky W

Uranus March 29th is at 5.9 magnitude and diameter 0000'.03" sets at 8:37 pm located in the constellation Pisces. Uranus is 0515'19" below Mercury on the 29th. Uranus is very difficult to find without a goto telescope due to being so low on the western horizon in the evening twilight.

 A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a faint green-gray disk. See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

NEPTUNE 

Morning ESE Sky

Neptune March 29th is very low in the eastern sky rising at 5:59 am and difficult to locate until later in April. It is at magnitude 8.0 with a diameter 0000'.02".

See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

Dwarf Planets

4 Vesta on March 29th it is at magnitude 7.6 located in the constellation Gemini and is an Angular separation: 0233'56.774" below the star Pollux in Gemini. 4Vesta sets at 3:37 am. See location of 4Vesta from Pollux below for March 29th.

 1 Ceres on evening of March 30th is at 9.0 magnitude in the constellation Aries setting at 10:32 pm. 1Ceres is located to the right of a thin crescent Moon 0244'48" and 0433'22" to the left of Mars. Location below of 1Ceres is 9:00 pm.

Pluto

Evening Sky 

Pluto is located amid the stars of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius. Pluto is at magnitude +14.3 and diameter 0000'.00" rising at 2:07 am in the east southeast.

COMETS BRIGHTER THAN 8TH MAGNITUDE

41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak

Comet is visible in Ursa Major on March 28 at 8:30 pm. Comet is at ~ 6.9 magnitude. It appears as a fuzzy star. Position at 8:30 pm is RA: 12h 35m 22s Dec: +6243'55" See image below.

  For more on current Comets and locations see: Sky & Telescope also Seiichi Yoshida web site here.

METEOR SHOWERS

There are no significant meteor showers in March.

METEOR SHOWERS

See: Listen to Meteors , American Meteor Society, Meteors Online also NASA All Sky Network

Some local links below to Heavens Above satellite information website.

Satellites Visible from York

Satellites visible from Hanover

Satellites visible from Gettysburg

Satellites visible from Lancaster

Satellites visible from Baltimore

Satellites visible from Harrisburg

Also see: Spaceflight NASA

The Sun

Real time solar wind dials are linked live to the ACE Spacecraft.

 If the dial on the left (Magnetic Field) has dipped below zero, the speed is high and the dial dynamic pressure is in the yellow/red, be alert for Aurora. Anytime the gauges are in the Red and the dial on the left, the Magnetic Field BZ has dipped to the yellow-red... Aurora will be occurring in our area. See link to solar wind gauge here: REAL TIME SOLAR WIND

See explanation of  solar wind dials below by clicking on photo of dials

   

Use your hand to find degrees

NASA Night Sky Network Planner

Free download. AstroPlanner  

Download a free starmap at: Skymaps

Make your own starmap at: Star Finder

Download a free Planetarium for your computer at: Stellarium or Hallo Northern Sky Stellarium has many extra features.

Your Sky - Fourmilab

AstroViewer
Your night sky map on the internet

Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart Register to use.

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