Astronomy news for the two weeks starting Friday, March 10,
Skylights has been produced in various forms for
31 years, since 1985, and even before that as an annual
bulletin. It's now time to simplify Skylights and bring part of
it to a close. We will continue to list lunar phases, planetary
passages, and other significant events for the coming two weeks
on this website, but by bullet, not by prose text. Because there will no
longer be any script, the telephone and emailing services have been dropped.
The Star of the Week will continue as before, as will the Photo of the Week.
Thanks all for your support.
The next Skylights will appear Friday, March 24. All times below
are Daylight Savings Times.
Full Moon, Sunday, March 12; Moon
rises a hair past exact phase.
Monday, the 13th to Sunday the 19th, waning gibbous
Moon falls below rising Regulus, Friday, March 10, then
passes south of Leo.
Moon is northeast of Jupiter, Tuesday the 4th;
northwest of the planet the following night.
Moon at apogee, farthest from Earth, 1.7 percent more
than average, Sunday the 18th
Venus is brilliant low in southwest in twilight, but
nearly gone by the end of the period as it approaches inferior
conjunction with the Sun.
Mars sets shortly after 10 PM Daylight Time.
Dominating the sky, Jupiter rises in Virgo just after the end of twilight. Jupiter then
transits the meridian a couple
hours past midnight, about the time Saturn rises in Sagittarius. Saturn is almost as
far south as it can get, 22 degrees south of celestial equator.
Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday, March 12.
Moving northward, the Sun crosses the celestial equator
at the Vernal Equinox in Pisces at 5:29 CDT and spring
begins in the northern hemisphere. The Sun then rises due east
and sets due west, and barring minor effects, the lengths of day
and night are equal.
The winter constellations with Orion, Canis Major and Minor, and the like, disappear into the west. With
the Milky Way more or less lying on
the horizon, we get to look through its haze of dust to the
outside and to the amazing number of external galaxies, topped by
the great Virgo Cluster. Virgo
herself, known for the bright bluish first magnitude star Spica, is currently well-marked by
Jupiter, which lies to the north of it. To the north find the
brightest star of the northern celestial hemisphere.