The March Evening Sky 2019 – Astronotes

April 18, 2019 - Comment

Article by: Helen McLoughlin, Schooling Officer How is it March already? 2019 has simply flown in! Though we have now had a gentle winter, we are able to begin to wave goodbye to the darkish evenings and say good day to Spring because the date that I’ve been eager for ever for the reason that


Article by: Helen McLoughlin, Schooling Officer

How is it March already? 2019 has simply flown in! Though we have now had a gentle winter, we are able to begin to wave goodbye to the darkish evenings and say good day to Spring because the date that I’ve been eager for ever for the reason that evenings obtained shorter – the Spring Equinox on the 20th March quick approaches. After this date, the Solar strikes as much as shine over the Northern Hemisphere, so the times turn out to be longer than the nights (thank goodness)! That is intently adopted by the official begin of British Summer season on 31st March. Sadly, that doesn’t promise the solar splitting the sky and record-breaking temperatures, nevertheless it does imply that our evenings will start to stretch out earlier than us. This does come at a worth although as we lose one valuable hour in mattress because the clocks spring ahead.

Orion is seen in each the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Within the Northern hemisphere the constellation will be seen from late autumn to early spring. Within the Southern hemisphere Orion will be seen in the summertime months, be aware that it’ll seem the other way up. Picture Credit score: Heather Alexander/Stellarium/Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

This month
can be your final probability to see Orion the Hunter and Canis Main as they begin
to vanish beneath the horizon. They are often noticed trying South West within the
sky throughout month. You should utilize the three stars of Orion’s belt to seek out the
brightest star within the evening sky, Sirius. Draw an imaginary diagonal line
downwards from Orion’s belt and it’s onerous to overlook Sirius twinkling within the evening
sky. So, be sure you get out and admire these constellations earlier than they
disappear for an additional 12 months.

Search for Leo (Picture credit score: Armagh Observatory and Planetarium/Stellarium)

Though we will probably be saying goodbye to those well-known stars and constellations, with a brand new season, comes new treasures within the evening sky. For instance, Leo the Lion is now in full view, which implies Regulus, also referred to as the ‘coronary heart’ of the Lion, seems vivid within the sky. This star is round 79 mild years away and throws out about 300 occasions as a lot vitality as our native star, the Solar. It’s bluey white in color as it’s comparatively younger (roughly a billion years previous so simply one-fifth the age of the Solar) and in early March it ascends within the East. Regulus will be discovered marking the underside of a big backwards query mark star sample inside Leo, often called The Sickle.

One thing tougher to identify, however nicely price it when you do discover it, is the The
Praesepe (or Beehive) star cluster discovered within the coronary heart of the constellation
Most cancers the Crab. Most cancers is a a lot fainter constellation than the likes of Leo,
however listed below are just a few ideas to assist discover this star cluster. First, discover Regulus and
the celebs that mark the heads of Castor and Pollux, the Gemini twins. The
Beehive is midway between these stars. Sadly you can not see this star
cluster with the bare eye, nevertheless with the assistance of binoculars you’ll be able to discover
this cluster in additional element. There are recognized to be 1000 stars within the cluster,
two of that are circled by planets. With binoculars, you may discover two vivid
stars on both facet of the cluster. In skylore, they signify the donkeys
that Dionysos and Silenus rode into battle towards the Titans.

Image of mercury by messengerTime and space-warped planet: Mercury has a bleak majesty to its landscapes (picture credit score: NASA, JHU APL)

Extra good
information for March – extra sightings of planets! The lesser noticed Mercury will be
seen initially of March, trying low on the horizon in direction of the west at
nightfall, you need to be capable to see Mercury shining at a magnitude +zero.1 and setting
round 7.30pm. The return of the purple planet to our skies is the one I’m most
trying ahead to, notably when Mars varieties a stunning sight subsequent to the
Pleiades over the past couple of nights of March.

One other thrilling occasion happens on 21st March – the final supermoon of 2019! The Moon will probably be at its closest method to the Earth and if we get a transparent, darkish evening it ought to look barely bigger and brighter than standard.

Completely happy
star/planet/moon gazing everybody!



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