The weather is turning! It must be by now!? After the wettest (and probably windiest) winter on record in the UK karma best be ready to give us an amazing Spring!!
The layer of dust currently sitting on our telescopes could be used to insulate a small home.
So we’re eager for some dry, clear and wind-free evenings to get back into observing and imaging our skies. Thankfully you can always be sure someone has a good view of the night sky, so we’re enjoying keeping up with fellow enthusiasts like us on Twitter, because there are images aplenty to at least temporarily satiate our passion for astronomy!
However, to help keep you inspired we’ve noted below some points of astronomical interest for the upcoming calendar month. Keep watching the skies!
Saturday 1st March - The New Moon rises with (and sets just after) the Sun today, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects when the skies are unaffected by moonlight
There is a second New Moon at the end of the month
Brightening slightly by the end of the month, Saturn is always one of the most beautiful sights to see if you have a telescope or good pair of binoculars
Friday 7th March - Orange giant star Aldebaran (part of the constellation Taurus) is visited closely by the Moon this evening, which sits nicely in the middle of the Hyades cluster (to the south west) directly to the right of Orion
Saturday 8th March - The Moon can be seen at First Quarter phase this evening
Tuesday 11th March - Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 405,365 km (251,882 miles) the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth
Friday 14th March - Mercury is at Greatest Western Elongation today, however the planet is too close to the Sun this month for any meaningful observation from our latitudes
Sunday 16th March - The Full Moon in the sky tonight is also sometimes known as the Fish Moon, Sleepy Moon or Chaste Moon
And continuing our recent addition to this guide, below we’ve provided constellation guides for Southern and Northern skies in March!
Thursday 20th March - Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere (also known as the Vernal Equinox)
Saturday 22nd March - Venus is at Greatest Western Elongation this morning, meaning the bright planet can be seen rising before sunrise
Monday 24th March – This morning the Moon is seen at Last Quarter phase
Thursday 27th March - The crescent Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 365,705 km (227,239 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth, and appears very close to Venus in the early hours this morning
Shown below at 05:00 UTC, look low down towards the Eastern horizon
Sunday 30th March - British Summer Time begins in the UK, and the clocks go forward 1 hour from 01:00 GMT/UTC to 02:00 BST
And the second New Moon of the month makes this another good time to observe galaxies and nebulae with the Moon out of the way!
As usual, if you take any photos throughout March you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts!
Planets visible this month:
Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!
To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy!
Guide images created with Stellarium