This Week’s Sky at a Look, March eight – 16

March 8, 2019 - Comment

  This week Venus is getting decrease within the daybreak, and Saturn has superior far to its higher proper. Alpha (α) Capricorni is a pleasant large double star for binoculars when you look earlier than the sky is simply too brilliant. Friday, March eight • It is not spring for one more couple weeks, however


Venus and Saturn at dawn, March 9, 2019

This week Venus is getting decrease within the daybreak, and Saturn has superior far to its higher proper. Alpha (α) Capricorni is a pleasant large double star for binoculars when you look earlier than the sky is simply too brilliant.

Friday, March eight

• It is not spring for one more couple weeks, however the Spring Star Arcturus appears wanting to take the stage. It rises above the east-northeast horizon quickly after nightfall now, relying in your latitude.

To see the place to observe for this, discover the Large Dipper excessive within the northeast as quickly as the celebrities come out. Observe the curve of its deal with down and round to the decrease proper by slightly greater than a Dipper-length. That is the spot on the horizon to observe.

Saturday, March 9

• By the point it is totally darkish, the Large Dipper is excessive within the northeast and starting to tip left. Look properly to its left for Polaris and the dim Little Dipper. Aside from Polaris, all you might even see of the Little Dipper by moonlight or gentle air pollution are the 2 stars forming the outer fringe of its bowl. These are Kochab (just like Polaris in brightness) and beneath it, fainter Pherkad. Discover these two “Guardians of the Pole” to Polaris’s decrease proper by a few fist and a half at arm’s size.

Now could be the time of 12 months when the Guardians line up precisely vertically on the finish of twilight.

• Daylight-saving time begins for many of the US and Canada at 2 a.m. tonight. Clocks “spring forward” an hour.

Sunday, March 10

• On the normal divide between the winter and spring sky is the dim constellation Most cancers. It is between Gemini to its west and Leo to its east. Most cancers holds one thing distinctive: the Beehive Star Cluster, M44, in its center.

The Beehive reveals dimly to the bare eye you probably have little or no gentle air pollution. With binoculars it is simple, even underneath worse circumstances. Search for it rather less than midway from Pollux in Gemini to Regulus in Leo.

Moon, Mars, Aldebaran, March 11-13, 2019

Watch the waxing Moon step previous Mars, the Pleiades, and Aldebaran in late twilight. (The blue 10° scale is concerning the facet of your fist held at arm’s size.)

Monday, March 11

• The waxing crescent Moon shines within the west to the left of Mars after darkish, as proven right here. Above them are the Pleiades. Left of the Pleiades is Aldebaran, the orange eye of Taurus.

Tuesday, March 12

• Now the thickening Moon is within the outskirts of the Hyades, close to Taurus, as proven right here.

• In a really darkish sky, the complete constellation stick determine of Canis Main is pretty plain to see within the south after darkish. The Large Canine is seen in profile prancing on his hind legs, with Sirius as his shiny canine tag. However the place many people reside, solely his 5 brightest stars present by the sunshine air pollution — hardly doglike.

Nevertheless, these type the unmistakable Canis Main Meat Cleaver. Sirius and Murzim (to its proper) are the large entrance finish of the cleaver, with Sirius glowing on its prime again nook. Right down to Sirius’s decrease left is the Cleaver’s different finish, together with its brief deal with, fashioned by the triangle of Adhara, Wezen, and Aludra. Its blade is chopping towards the decrease proper.

Wednesday, March 13

• The Moon, barely in need of first quarter now, shines in Taurus slightly greater than midway from Aldebaran to Zeta Tauri, the fainter of the 2 horntips of Taurus. The opposite horntip is Beta Tauri, slightly larger above the Moon.

Thursday, March 14

• First-quarter Moon; precisely so at 6:27 a.m. this morning. At dusk about half a day later, are you able to see that the Moon’s terminator is now not an actual straight line?

After darkish you will see that the Moon is within the ft of Gemini, excessive over Orion and simply above the highest of Orion’s very dim membership (for North America).

• The yellow-eyed flying bat asterism, seen in binoculars, resides in Leo Minor close to Lynx. Its wingspan extends almost throughout a binocular area of view. Discover it to the higher proper of Leo’s Sickle these evenings utilizing Matt Wedel’s Binocular Spotlight column and chart within the March Sky & Telescope, web page 43. As he notes, “It solely flies right-side up when Pollux and Procyon are crossing the meridian,” as they’re now.

Friday, March 15

• Arcturus rises a half hour earlier now than it did per week in the past. Search for it very low within the east-northeast after dusk, and better within the east later within the night. It is magnitude zero, one of many very brightest stars within the sky.

Saturn and Jupiter in the dawn, March 16, 2019

By now Saturn is much less removed from Jupiter than it’s from Venus in the wrong way. Look earlier, simply as daybreak begins, if you’d like an opportunity on the Sagittarius Teapot.

Saturday, March 16

• The Large 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 the moment on prime) are the Pointers; they level to Polaris, at the moment to their left.

And, you might know that when you observe the curve of the Dipper’s deal with out and round by slightly greater than a Dipper size, you will arc to Arcturus, rising within the east.

However do you know that when you 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 connected, proceed far on, and you may go to Gemini.

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


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

That is an out of doors nature interest. For an easy-to-use constellation information protecting the entire night sky, use the massive month-to-month map within the middle 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 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 customary 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 skim the way to use sky charts with a telescope.

You will additionally desire a good deep-sky guidebook, corresponding to 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 substitute charts? Not for novices, I do not assume, and never on mounts and tripods which might be lower than top-quality mechanically (which 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 not come with out growing the talents to seek out issues within the sky and understanding how the sky works. This data comes solely by spending time underneath the celebrities with star maps in hand.”

Mercury has light and disappeared into the sundown.

Venus (magnitude – rises above the east-southeast horizon across the first gentle of daybreak. It is some 50° to the decrease left of Jupiter.

Mars (magnitude +1.three, in Aries) glows within the west after dusk. It is the little orange-red spark beneath the Pleiades. In a telescope Mars is only a tiny blob 5 arcseconds large.

Jupiter on March 4, 2019

On the morning of March 4th, Christopher Go within the Philippines captured this picture of Jupiter’s non-Nice-Purple-Spot facet. South is up. The North Equatorial Belt is darkish reddish and turbulent, the South Equatorial Belt is smoother with three skinny traces, and many of the Equatorial Zone stays almost as tan because the SEB. However, the South Temperate Belt is displaying solely the tiniest hint of itself; 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 or 2 a.m. It is properly up within the south-southeast by the point daybreak begins to brighten — its greatest time for telescopic observing.

Spot Antares and the top of Scorpius to Jupiter’s proper at the moment. And swing your scope over to verify in on Beta Scorpii, a fantastic telescopic double star. It is the highest star of the upright row of three marking Scorpius’s head, proper or higher proper of Antares.

Saturn (magnitude +zero.6, in Sagittarius) glows in early daybreak roughly halfway between brighter Jupiter and low Venus.

Uranus is sinking out of sight within the west after darkish.

Neptune is hidden behind the glare of the Solar.


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 on longitude (primarily Moon positions) are for North America.

Japanese Commonplace Time (EST) is Common Time (UT or GMT) minus 5 hours. Japanese Daylight Time (EDT) is UT minus four hours.

Audio sky tour. Out underneath the night sky along 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 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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