The planet show this month delights early birds around 6 am in the east. On March 1 and 2, a thin crescent Moon joins Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. Moon makes a curtain call at the end of the month, joined by faint Mercury. With or without Moon, watch Venus, Saturn and Jupiter as they move positions from morning to morning.
In the evening sky, Mars, fading from its glorious apparition this past summer, still has some showmanship left. During the last week of March, look southwest around 8 pm for Orion. Follow his belt (3 bright stars in a row) to the right about 20 degrees to a bright, ruddy colored star, Aldebaran. Continue right along that line for about 13 degrees to spot Mars glowing slightly fainter than Aldebaran but also with a ruddy complexion. Just above Mars or to its right, look for a small cluster of stars called the Pleiades a.k.a. the Seven Sisters. You might recognize the shape of this cluster of stars from the Subaru logo on the car. The Pleiades shine nicely in binoculars. Add Mars and you have some lovely evening sky theater to compliment the morning show.
Want to see Mars and the Pleiades in a telescope? Weather permitting, join us for a Friday evening star party on March 15 at the Bell from 8 to 9:30 and we’ll show you.
|All month||Very bright Venus, bright Jupiter & Saturn visible||Dawn, E and SE|
|All month||Mars visible||Evening, W|
|1||Saturn 3 degrees below left of thin crescent Moon. Venus below left and Jupiter above right||6 am, Low SE|
|2||Venus 5 degrees left of thin crescent Moon. Beautiful.||6 am, Low SE|
|10||Mars 10 degrees above Moon||7-9 pm, W|
|10||Begin Daylight Saving Time||Spring forward|
|11||Mars 7 degrees right of Moon||8 pm, W|
|20||Full Super Moon|
|20||Vernal Equinox: Astronomical spring begins for the Northern Hemisphere|
|27||Jupiter 4 degrees right of Moon||5:30 am, S|
|26-31||Mars below left or left of the Pleiades||8-9 pm, W
Enjoy with naked eye and with binoculars
|29||Saturn 3 degrees above right of Moon||SE|
|31||Mercury, Venus, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter form line from very low ESE to higher in S||5:45 am
Use binoculars to see Mercury 11 degrees left of Venus
Meanwhile, on the internet
Scientists have long known that the moon has hydrogen and oxygen. Now they have more clarity on the subject. When solar wind hits the moon, its ions interact with electrons on the surface and create hydrogen atoms. Once this hydrogen interacts with oxygen in the lunar soil (like in this unnamed, mile-wide crater), the result is a molecule called hydroxyl, or OH.