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March 2019

March 2019 Night Sky Guide. Welcome to the night sky in March. Winter is almost over and ends with the Spring Equinox toward the end of the month. From then on, nights will become shorter and days longer.

March 2019 is a great month for stargazing. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned stargazer. There is something for all. This guide is suitable those with zero experience upwards.

Read on to find out even more about the night Sky in March 2019.

March 2019 Night Sky Guide

Evening Planets

Mercury is prominent after sunset at the start of the month near the western horizon. It lingers in the sky a short while after sunset before setting itself. Greatest eastern elongation was on 27 February 2019. Mercury the Messenger will finally be lost in the evening gloom after the first week in March 2019.

Mars is still the only prominent planet in the evening sky this month. The red planet is now far past its best but is still bright in the south western sky. As well as a close encounter with the Moon on the 11th, Mars will be very close to the Seven Sisters/ Pleiades cluster on the 31st. An excellent photo opportunity.

March 2019
Mars and Pleiades 31 march 2019 Credit Stellarium/ VirtualAstro

Morning Planets

The mornings in March 2019 are a lot more interesting with Jupiter, Saturn and Venus treating us to fine displays.

Jupiter rises around 2am shining rather brightly to the left of the bright star Antares. On 27 March 2019, Jupiter has a very close encounter with the waning gibbous Moon. Saturn rises around 4am and can be spotted to the left of bright Jupiter. On March 29 the Moon will be directly below Saturn. Another ideal photo opportunity. Venus has been the star of the show if you pardon the pun during the months of Winter. In March 2019 however, Venus rises around 4am but is moving closer to the Sun and will be difficult to spot at the end of the month.

Moon and Jupiter 27 March 2019 Credit: Stellarium/ VirtualAstro
Saturn and the Moon 29 March 2019. Credit: Stellarium/ VirtualAstro

The Moon in March 2019

The Full Moon in March is also known as the Worm Moon in European and North American folklore. There are a number of other names from ancient folklore for March’s full Moon including: Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Chaste Moon, Sugar Moon, and Sap Moon.

March 2019 see’s the final Supermoon of the year. A relatively new term used to describe a Full Moon at perigee – near its closest point to earth. The Full Moon can appear as much as 14% larger than when it’s at apogee – its farthest point. To many, this difference is negligible and hardly noticeable. The increase in brightness however, can be quite obvious. With brightness being up to 30% brighter than a Full Moon at apogee.

Moon phases for March 2019 are as follows:

  • New Moon – March 6, 16:03
  • First Quarter – 14 march, 10:27
  • Full Moon – 21 March, 01:42
  • Last Quarter – 28 March 04:09

Moon Events and Close Encounters March 2019

  • 1st March – Moon near Saturn in the morning.
  • 2nd March – Moon between Saturn and Venus in the morning.
  • 3rd March – Moon near Venus in the morning.
  • 13th March – Moon near Aldebaran in Taurus.
  • 21st March – Full Moon – A Supermoon and Worm Moon.
  • 27th March – Moon very close to Jupiter in the morning.
  • 29th March – Moon below Saturn in the morning.

Constellations

March 2019 sees the most familiar winter constellations move further west. Making way for the constellations of Spring. Orion is probably the most famous and striking of all the constellations and is still very obvious. It sets along with Taurus and the Pleiades – Seven Sisters after 11pm. There are certainly many wonderful things to see in this constellation and you can find out more about them in Orion Constellation – Mighty Guardian of Winter Skies. 

To the lower left of Orion is the Constellation of Canis Major – The big dog. The constellation is itself rather unimpressive and lies low in the sky from the UK. Above all, Its crowning glory is its alpha star Sirius – The Dog Star. Above all Sirius is the brightest star in the whole night sky and is famous for its twinkling. Often mistaken for a UFO due to its bright flashes of colour. Find out more about Sirius and why it twinkles so much here.

February 2019
Credit: Stellarium

To the east of the setting winter constellations, the heralds of Spring are rising. With the most obvious being Leo the Lion. Leo is easily made out if you look for the backwards question mark or sickle asterism, which makes up the head of the lion. Its body can be made out from the star at the base of the sickle: Regulus. Ending with the the bright star Denebola to the left.

In Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, Leo signifies the Nemean lion. The lion was impervious to the weapons of mortals with its thick golden fur. Its claws were said to be sharper than the swords of mortal men. The beast was a monster and terrorised Nemea, killing livestock and men alike. The Hero Heracles was sent to kill the lion as the first of his 12 labours. After trapping the beast in a cave, Heracles subdued it with his club and then finally choked the lion to death. With the help of the goddess Athena, it was skinned by Heracles using one of its own claws. The pelt was then worn by Heracles thereafter with its magical fur protecting him from injury and weapons.

Northern Constellations

Looking north you will find the 9 circumpolar constellations. Cepheus – The king is low down and due north, looking like the gable end of a house. The “W” shape of Cassiopeia – The queen is to the left of Cepheus and probably the most recognisable constellation of them all – Ursa Major is high above in March 2019.

Ursa Major, also known as the Plough, Big Dipper and Saucepan is a very large constellation. However, the “asterism” that forms the plough or sauce pan is only part of the constellation. Its body and tail.

Credit: U.S. Naval Observatory and the Space Telescope Science Institute

International Space Station March 2019

International Space Station (ISS) passes occur over the UK late March 2019.

Times coming soon.

Copyright: www.meteorwatch.org @VirtualAstro

Further reading:

Orion Constellation – Mighty Guardian of Winter Skies

Orion Constellation

iPhone Night Sky Photography – Take Night Sky Pics Using Your iPhone

Pleiades – Seven Sisters – Subaru – M45. Jewel of Winter Skies

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