This Week’s Sky at a Look, March 15 – 23

March 15, 2019 - Comment

  Friday, March 15 • Search for Arcturus, the Spring Star, very low within the east-northeast after dusk and better within the east later within the night. By trendy measurements Arcturus is visible magnitude –zero.05, making it the fourth-brightest nighttime star. It is bested solely by Sirius, Canopus, and Alpha Centauri (for those who mix


Friday, March 15

• Search for Arcturus, the Spring Star, very low within the east-northeast after dusk and better within the east later within the night. By trendy measurements Arcturus is visible magnitude –zero.05, making it the fourth-brightest nighttime star. It is bested solely by Sirius, Canopus, and Alpha Centauri (for those who mix the sunshine of Alpha Cen A and B, as a result of the pair seems single to the unaided eye).

Saturn and Jupiter in the dawn, March 16, 2019

In early daybreak, Saturn is now a bit nearer to Jupiter than it’s to Venus, which shines low in the wrong way. Look earlier, simply earlier than daybreak begins, if you need an opportunity on the Sagittarius Teapot.

Saturday, March 16

• Very excessive after darkish, Castor and Pollux level nearly on the waxing gibbous Moon close to them.

• The Huge Dipper glitters softly excessive within the northeast these evenings, standing on its deal with. You in all probability know that the 2 stars forming the entrance of the Dipper’s bowl (at present on high) are the Pointers; they level to Polaris, at present to their left.

And, you could know that for those who observe the curve of the Dipper’s deal with out and round by a bit greater than a Dipper size, you will arc to Arcturus, rising within the east.

However do you know that for those who observe the Pointers backward the other method, you will land in Leo?

Draw a line diagonally throughout the Dipper’s bowl from the place the deal with is hooked up, proceed far on, and you may go to Gemini.

And have a look at the 2 stars forming the open high of the Dipper’s bowl. Comply with this line previous the bowl’s lip far throughout the sky, and also you crash into Capella.

Sunday, March 17

• That is the time of yr when Orion declines within the southwest after darkish, together with his Belt roughly horizontal. When does Orion’s Belt seem precisely horizontal? That will depend on the place you are positioned east-west in your time zone, and in your latitude.

Are you able to time this occasion? For those who’re close to your time zone’s commonplace longitude, count on it round 9:15 this night (daylight-saving time). . . kind of.

Monday, March 18

• The intense waxing gibbous Moon traverses the sky in firm with 1st-magnitude Regulus tonight. They’re solely a few levels aside in early night (for North America). Watch them pull farther aside hour by hour.

Tuesday, March 19

• The Moon, nearly full, shines within the dim hind ft of Leo. Higher proper of it after darkish is Regulus, a few fist and a half at arm’s size away.

Left of the Moon by about half that distance is Denebola, Leo’s tailtip. Denebola is zero.eight magnitude dimmer than Regulus (that means about half as vivid) and it will even be nearer to the Moon’s dazzling glare. Relying on the readability of your air, Denebola could or will not be a problem to pick.

Wednesday, March 20

• Full Moon (precise at 9:43 p.m. EDT), and this qualities as a supermoon; it is simply two days after perigee. The Moon shines a hint larger and brighter than typical, within the head of Virgo underneath Leo.

• Coincidentally, immediately can also be the equinox. Spring begins (within the Northern Hemisphere) at 5:58 p.m. EDT, when the middle of the Solar crosses the equator heading north for the season. The Solar rises and units nearly precisely east and west, and really almost 12 hours aside. (And no, eggs do not steadiness any higher than they normally do!)

Thursday, March 21

• Now that it is spring, the signature fall-and-winter constellation Cassiopeia is retreating downward after darkish. However for skywatchers at mid-northern latitudes Cassiopeia is circumpolar, by no means going away utterly. Search for it pretty low within the north-northwest these evenings. It is standing roughly on finish.

By midnight or 1 a.m. it is at its lowest due north, mendacity not fairly horizontally.

• Algol, descending within the northwest, ought to be at minimal gentle for a pair hours centered on 10:04 p.m. EDT (7:04 p.m. PDT). Algol takes a number of further hours to rebrighten.

Mars and Pleiades, March 22, 2019

Proper after nightfall, watch the Pleiades sink nearer to Mars daily. The cluster will go about three° to Mars’s higher proper March 29–31.

Friday, March 22

• Instantly after darkish, earlier than moonrise for many of North America, Sirius shines brilliantly within the south-southwest. To its decrease left, by a few fist at arm’s size, is the triangle of Adhara, Wezen, and Aludra from proper to left. They kind Canis Main’s hind foot, rear finish, and tailtip, respectively.

Simply higher left of Aludra, forming a Third- and 4th-magnitude arc 7° lengthy, are the three uppermost stars of the constellation Puppis. No it is not a pet, regardless of following proper behind the Huge Canine. It is the Poop Deck (stern) of the large historical constellation Argo Navis, the ship of Jason and the Argonauts. These three stars are the one stars of Argo which are readily seen naked-eye from mid-northern latitudes.

Saturday, March 23

• As soon as the waning gibbous Moon properly up within the southeast in very late night, use binoculars to assist pick Beta and Alpha Librae, each about Third magnitude, on the left and proper of it, respectively. Alpha (Zubenelgenubi) is a large binocular double star: magnitudes 2.eight and 5.1, separation four arcminutes, with the fainter star to the brighter one’s celestial northwest.


Need to grow to be a greater astronomer? Study your method across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding every part fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.

That is an outside nature interest. For an easy-to-use constellation information protecting the entire night sky, use the large month-to-month map within the heart of every subject of Sky & Telescope, the important information to astronomy.

Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas cover

The Pocket Sky Atlas plots 30,796 stars to magnitude 7.6, and a whole lot of telescopic galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae amongst them. Proven above is the Jumbo Version for simpler studying within the night time. Pattern chart.

When you get a telescope, to place it to good use you will want an in depth, large-scale sky atlas (set of charts). The fundamental commonplace is the Pocket Sky Atlas (in both the unique or Jumbo Version), which reveals stars to magnitude 7.6.

Subsequent up is the bigger and deeper Sky Atlas, plotting stars to magnitude eight.5; almost 3 times as many. The following up, as soon as you realize your method round, are the even bigger Interstellarum atlas (stars to magnitude 9.5) and Uranometria (stars to magnitude 9.75). And skim use sky charts with a telescope.

You may additionally need a good deep-sky guidebook, resembling Sue French’s Deep-Sky Wonders assortment (which incorporates its personal charts), Sky Atlas Companion by Sturdy and Sinnott, or the larger Evening Sky Observer’s Information by Kepple and Sanner.

Can a computerized telescope change charts? Not for newbies, I do not assume, and never on mounts and tripods which are lower than top-quality mechanically (that means heavy and costly). And as Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer say of their Yard Astronomer’s Information, “A full appreciation of the universe can’t come with out creating the talents to search out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This information comes solely by spending time underneath the celebs with star maps in hand.”

Mercury is hidden within the glow of dawn.

Venus (magnitude –, in Capricornus) rises above the east-southeast horizon across the first gentle of daybreak. It is almost 60° decrease left of Jupiter.

Mars (magnitude +1.three, close to the Aries-Taurus border) glows within the west after dusk, decrease now. It is the little orange-red spark beneath the Pleiades. The Pleiades descend nearer towards Mars day by day. In a telescope the planet is only a tiny blob 5 arcseconds large.

Jupiter with Red Spot on March 8, 2019

Jupiter on March eighth, with the Nice Crimson Spot about to rotate off the disk; south is up. The North Equatorial Belt is very darkish, and its north edge, at the least on this facet of the planet, is deeply sculpted into fluted waves. In case your small scope hasn’t proven particulars within the belts earlier than, now’s a superb time to strive once more. Damian Peach took this picture remotely with the 1-meter (40-inch) Chilescope.

Jupiter on March 4, 2019

On the morning of March 4th, Christopher Go within the Philippines captured Jupiter’s non-Nice-Crimson-Spot facet with a 14-inch scope. South is up. A lot of the Equatorial Zone stays a non-zone-like tan. Farther south, the white South Tropical and Temperate Zones are primarily merged.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.1, within the ft of Ophiuchus) rises within the southeast round 1 a.m. It is pretty properly up within the south-southeast simply as daybreak begins to brighten, the very best time to watch it telescopically. The farther south you’re, the upper will probably be.

Antares sparkles 14° to Jupiter’s higher proper when the planet rises, and straight proper of it by the start of daybreak.

Saturn (magnitude +zero.6, in Sagittarius) glows in early daybreak nearly midway from Jupiter to low Venus.

Uranus units within the west shortly after darkish.

Neptune is out of sight low within the glow of daybreak.


All descriptions that relate to your horizon — together with the phrases up, down, proper, and left — are written for the world’s mid-northern latitudes. Descriptions that additionally depend upon longitude (primarily Moon positions) are for North America.

Jap Daylight Time (EDT) is Common Time (UT or GMT) minus four hours.


Audio sky tour. Out underneath the night sky together with your earbuds in place, take heed to Kelly Beatty’s month-to-month podcast tour of the heavens above. It is free.


“Science is constructed up of details, as a home is with stones. However a set of details isn’t any extra a science than a heap of stones is a home.”
— Henri Poincaré (1854–1912)



Supply hyperlink


Comments are disabled for this post.