Posted by on Feb 27, 2021 in Main |

I think we will as be glad to see the end of this winter.

This month will give you a few reasons to celebrate. Spring is on its way. On the 20th we have the vernal equinox. After that date the days become longer than the nights. This is followed on the 28th of March when British summer times stars and it will be around 8 pm before it becomes dark. The 28th March will be the first of four supermoons this year.

The constellations:-

The evening sky is transitioning to the stars and constellations that will adorn the heavens for the next few months. So, if you are a fan of Orion and its retinue, get your looks in fast, because those stars will be all but gone by the end of April. Of his retinue, only Capella, Procyon and Gemini are reasonably high up. Ursa Major is practically overhead. Cassiopeia is low in the northern sky, with Vega in the east. The southern sky is dominated by the constellation of Leo, while the brightest star on view is the glorious orange coloured Arcturus, in the constellation of Bootes. The Milky Way is not as conspicuous as in winter.

The Planets:-

In the western sky, we have two red ‘stars. To the left is red giant Aldebaran, marking the eye of Taurus, while to the right lies Mars. The Red Planet will be setting around 1am, and starts the month at magnitude +0.9; which is very similar to Aldebaran. However it fades to =1.3 by the end of March.

Travelling through Taurus, Mars makes a lovely spectacle with the Pleiades star cluster during the first week of this month. It will be closest to Aldebaran on the 19th, when the Moon joins them.

Uranus, located in Aries, is just about visible with the naked eye but will be best viewed through binoculars or a low power telescope. Shining at magnitude +5.8 and setting about 10pm.

The remainder of the planetary action is in the morning sky. In the south east, Jupiter shines at a brilliant -2.0 magnitude. To its right lies the smaller Saturn, at magnitude +0.7. Both planets rise around 5am in the constellation of Capricornus.

At the start of the month Mercury lies just to the upper right of Jupiter at magnitude +0.2. Moving leftwards the innermost planet oases just 17 arcminutes above Jupiter on the morning of 5th March. On 6th March Mercury is at its maximum separation from the Sun. It then sinks into the dawn twilight and disappears mid-month.

Venus and Neptune are to close to the sun for observation.

The phases of the Moon:-

Last quarter 6th March
New Moon 13th March
First quarter 21st March
Full Moon 28th March