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Astronomy Events – March 2016

February 29, 2016

by Adam Welbourn

If Spring is on the way it seems to have neglected to let the temperature know! The wind has been bitter recently, meaning the few crystal clear evenings we were afforded in February were too frosty for any serious viewing.

But with British Summer Time virtually upon us, nothing heralds the onset of more favourable outdoor conditions than longer days.

So in order to keep your curiosities piqued we’ve once again selected some astronomical happenings of note for the month, now get out into the dark and enjoy the infinite view!

Keep watching those skies…

Tuesday 1st March  – This evening our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase

Monday 7th March – In the early dawn light you may be able to spot the thinnest sliver of crescent Moon just above Venus. A great chance for some photography if your seeing conditions are favourable

If your eastern horizon is flat enough the sliver of Moon over Venus will be a great sight if your seeing conditions are good (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

If your eastern horizon is flat enough the sliver of Moon over Venus will be a great sight, if you can spot them in the early dawn light! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Wednesday 8th March – Gas giant Jupiter is at opposition in the constellation Cancer this evening, meaning it rises at sunset and sets at sunrise. A good opportunity for observing or imaging this beauty!

Look to the south east about 22:00 UTC and you’ll find it as the brightest object in the night sky

With binoculars or a small telescope you can see Jupiter's moons - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

With binoculars or a small telescope you can see Jupiter’s moons – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Wednesday 9th March – Today the New Moon rises and sets with the Sun, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae, or get a clearer look at objects usually blurred and faint in light polluted skies

Thursday 10th March – Today the Moon is at Perigee at a distance of 359,510 km (223,389 miles) from the Earth, the closest it will come on it’s current orbit

Tuesday 15th March – This afternoon the Moon will be seen at First Quarter phase

Wednesday 16th March – To help you identify the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in March

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 16th March, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 16th March, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in March (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in March (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 20th March – Today is Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere

Wednesday 23rd March – This evening’s Full Moon is sometimes known as the Sleepy Moon, Fish Moon or Chaste Moon

A Full Moon can look bright and beautiful, but many details are lost in the glare (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

A Full Moon can look bright and beautiful, but many details are lost in the glare (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Inner planet Mercury is also in Superior Conjunction today and is unobservable until the end of the month

Friday 25th March – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 406,125 km (252,354 miles), the furthest point its orbit will take it away from the Earth this month

Sunday 27th March – British Summer Time begins in the UK early this morning, as clocks go forward one hour at 01:00 UTC (to 02:00 BST)

Thursday 31st March – This afternoon the Moon is at Last Quarter phase, the second time this month

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 and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!

Planets visible this month:

Venus
Saturn
Mars
Uranus
Jupiter
Mercury

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

Archive:
Astronomy Events – February 2016
Astronomy Events – January 2016
Astronomy Events – December 2015

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