This Week’s Sky at a Look, March 22 – 30

March 22, 2019 - Comment

  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, Sirius shines brilliantly within the south-southwest earlier than the rise of the waning gibbous Moon (for many of North America). Decrease left of Sirius,


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, Sirius shines brilliantly within the south-southwest earlier than the rise of the waning gibbous Moon (for many of North America). Decrease left of Sirius, by a couple of fist at arm’s size, is the triangle of Adhara, Wezen, and barely fainter Aludra, counting from proper to left. They kind Canis Main’s hind foot, rear finish, and tail tip, 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 readily seen naked-eye from mid-northern latitudes.

And simply 1.four° higher proper of the center one, a small scope or good binoculars will present the Sixth-magnitude open cluster M93. Search for earlier than the Moon rises and lights the sky! See the article about M93 within the March Sky & Telescope, web page 48.

Saturday, March 23

• As soon as the waning gibbous Moon is nicely up within the southeast very late this night, use binoculars to assist select Beta and Alpha Librae, each about Third magnitude, to its left and proper respectively. They’re every about four° or 5° from the Moon. Alpha (Zubenelgenubi) is a large double star for binoculars: magnitudes 2.eight and 5.1, separation four arcminutes. The fainter part is now above or higher proper of the brighter one.

Sunday, March 24

• 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 is determined by the place you are positioned east-west in your time zone, and in addition in your latitude.

Are you able to time this occasion? If you happen to’re close to your time zone’s normal longitude, anticipate it round 9 this night (daylight-saving time). . . kind of.

Monday, March 25

• That is the additionally time of yr when the dim Little Dipper juts to the correct from Polaris (the Little Dipper’s handle-end) throughout late night. The a lot brighter Huge Dipper curls over excessive above it, “dumping water” into it. They do the reverse water dump on fall evenings.

Tuesday, March 26

• Earlier than and through tomorrow morning the 27th, you will discover the Moon shining close to Jupiter.

Moon and Saturn in the dawn, March 28-29, 2019

The waning Moon passes Saturn and the dimmer Sagittarius Teapot in early daybreak. (The visibility of faint stars within the morning twilight is exaggerated right here.)

Wednesday, March 27

• Final-quarter Moon tonight (precisely so at 12:10 a.m. Thursday morning EDT). The Moon rises round 2 or three a.m. daylight time Thursday morning. Earlier than daybreak, search for Jupiter off to its higher proper and dimmer Saturn roughly half that far to its decrease left.

And really early earlier than the sky will get too shiny, search for the Sagittarius Teapot resting upright on the Moon’s decrease proper.

Thursday, March 28

• The signature fall-and-winter constellation Cassiopeia retreats down after darkish. Search for it pretty low within the north-northwest. It is standing roughly on finish.

However for skywatchers at mid-northern latitudes Cassiopeia is circumpolar, by no means going away fully. By midnight or 1 a.m. it is at its lowest due north, mendacity not fairly horizontally.

Mars and the Pleiades, March 29, 2019

Mars is lastly passing the Pleiades.

Friday, March 29

• Within the western sky after nightfall, spot Mars passing simply three° from the fragile Pleiades this night by Sunday night.

Saturday, March 30

• Castor and Pollux shine collectively almost overhead within the south after nightfall. Pollux is barely the brighter of those “twins.” Draw a line from Castor by Pollux, observe it farther out by a giant 26° (about 2½ fist-widths at arm’s size), and also you’re on the dim head of Hydra, the Sea Serpent. In a darkish sky it is a delicate however distinctive star grouping, concerning the dimension of your thumb at arm’s size. Binoculars present it simply by gentle air pollution.

Proceed the road farther by one other fist and a half and also you hit Alphard, Hydra’s 2nd-magnitude orange coronary heart.

One other approach to discover the top of Hydra: It is nearly halfway from Procyon to Regulus.


Wish to turn into a greater astronomer? Be taught your method across the constellations. They’re the important thing to finding every little thing fainter and deeper to hunt with binoculars or a telescope.

That is an out of doors nature pastime. For an easy-to-use constellation information masking the entire night sky, use the large month-to-month map within the heart of every challenge 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 tons of of telescopic galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae amongst them. Proven above is the Jumbo Version for simpler studying within the evening. 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 normal 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 subsequent 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 browse the best way to use sky charts with a telescope.

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

Can a computerized telescope exchange charts? Not for novices, I do not assume, and never on mounts and tripods which can be 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 beneath the celebs with star maps in hand.”

Mercury is hidden within the glow of dawn.

Venus (magnitude – rises above the east-southeast horizon across the first gentle of daybreak. Search for it about 65° decrease left of Jupiter.

Mars (magnitude +1.four, in Taurus) glows within the west after nightfall. It is the little orange-red spark beneath or decrease proper of the Pleiades this week. The Pleiades edge nearer to Mars on daily basis and go it by three° March 29–31.

Mars this season is about as removed from us because it ever will get; in a telescope it is a pathetic little blob lower than 5 arcseconds huge.

Jupiter with Red Spot, March 19, 2019

On the morning of March 19th, Christopher Go within the Philippines captured Jupiter’s Nice Purple Spot. South is up. The once-dark “eyebrow” beneath it, outlining the Purple Spot Hole, has nearly fully retreated to the left (previous) aspect within the final month.

Jupiter (magnitude –2.2, within the ft of Ophiuchus) rises within the southeast round 2 a.m. daylight-saving time. It is excessive within the south simply as daybreak begins to brighten, the perfect time to watch it telescopically. The farther south you’re, the upper it will likely be.

Orange Antares sparkles 15° 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 to the decrease proper of Jupiter by 25°.

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 rely 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 beneath the night sky along with your earbuds in place, hearken to Kelly Beatty’s month-to-month podcast tour of the heavens above. It is free.


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



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