Monthly Sky Guide

March's Guide To The Sky

Well first of all, I think need to talk about the meteor that was seen blazing across the UK skies which was designated sar2667. It was actually only discovered seven hours before impact through the earths atmosphere. It is only the seventh asteroid discovered before impacting earth successfully predicted, and it happened on the night I decided I was going to put my phone down, chill out and not look at it. So I missed out.

So I woke up the next morning to loads of pictures and videos of this awesome asteroid burning up and popping or exploding right next to the moon in the sky. It was a really cool thing to see and I'm really pleased guys in our facebook group got some for people like me who didn't get to see it. So if you're like me and you didn't get to see it, i'm sure there will be lots more in the future we can hopefully predict, have a look at and see burn up across our skies.

Credit: Wil Photography

Now to something else thats been seen in the sky - the Aurora. Absolutely loads of people have been out taking pictures seeing and enjoying this beautiful phenomena. Although it looks beautiful they are actually quite dangerous. It's where the energy and small particles from coronal mass explosions from the Sun hit our magnetic field lines to the north and south into Earth's atmosphere.

Where the particles interact with gases in our atmosphere, it results in beautiful displays of light in the sky. So luckily for us, our planet actually looks after us and saves us from the harmful rays - giving us something really nice to look at instead.

If you're interested in trying to see the aurora aurora, there is a cool app you can get called, AuroraWatch UK, which can notify you about any high disturbances, letting you know what the chances are to see it the UK. It also has a really good map that shows it. There's also a cloud icon that you can press on the bottom right to show the current cloud cover - as we know the cloud always gets in the way. I've also just found on the 'more' button it actually has two WebCams that give views from a Lighthouse and one from a cliff which will actually stream live images of the aurora if one is happening.

Now it's onto the month's highlights.

Venus is up and can't be missed as soon as the Sun sets. Jupiter is now getting lower having passed Venus in a close conjunction a few days ago. Mars is still high and visibly red. Uranus is right by Venus, but is a hard spot with Neptune, Mercury and Saturn being pretty close to the Sun.

There are a few passes of the ISS this month that we will be posting on our facebook group as they happen. You can download some free ISS tracker apps to help notify you when they happen also.

March 2023

The Moon's south side is tipped towards us, so we get to see a bit more of this side. This area is riddled in craters for you to move your scope across. A moon filter can help you dim it down so you can see more details across this bright phase.

March 2023

This evening's full moon rises around 6:30pm - making a great time to pop out somewhere with a clear easterly view. With the Sun setting 15 minutes before, it should rise in a lovely sunset sky.

March 2023

As the lunar libration tilts its northwestern side, see if you can spot the crater, Hermite, right on the Moons edge. It is around 3.91 billion years old and its southwestern edge is recorded as the coldest place currently in the solar system. To compare, Plutos surface gets down to -229oc, whilst Hermite reaches -247oc.

March 2023

With the Moon slipping out of the way, the next few days are great to spot fainter objects - including a rare phenomenon called the Zodiacal light. Seen to the Western sky, just after the Sun sets, you may spot a very subtle cone of light. This is where the Sun's light is scattered by interplanetary dust - which is said to be from dying stars as they burn out.

You will need to go to the darkest area as you can to spot it. It is best seen in February \ March - when the Moon is out the way each year.

March 2023

Today is officially the spring equinox here in the UK, where the centre of the Sun crosses the celestial equator at 9:25pm - making today and night an equal length. To our ancestors, the druids, it signified fertility and new beginnings.

March 2023

A little challenge for those with a telescope. The dwarf planet, Ceres, reaches opposition tonight, meaning its shining around +6.6 magnitude. It is currently in the constellation, Coma Berenices, and is literally in the middle of nowhere - really! So you will need an app and some star hopping to find it. There are tons of galaxies in this area. So while hunting, your bound to stumble across a few by accident. Enjoy!

March 2023

This evening, a very thin crescent Moon will have Jupiter atop of it in the sky. Literally as the Sun sets, you will have maybe half an hour to spot it and a good clear western horizon. Venus will be easily seen above left, with the ISS also passing to its left around 6:47pm. But it may still be too bright to see - but you never know.

23rd - 24th
March 2023

Watch the Moon creep towards, then past Venus these two evenings. The crescent Moon will be closest to the Goddess of Beauty on the 24th, giving you an amazing view.

March 2023

Tonight's fuller crescent Moon sits just below the stunning naked eye cluster known as the Pleiades or seven sisters. Seen even better through binoculars, these bright blue stars are around 444 lightyears away. This will make a great photo opportunity.

Early on 26th British Summer time begins, with the clocks going forwards at 1:00am, marking shorter nights and longer days for us astronomers.

March 2023

If you hunt for Ceres tonight, it may be slightly easier as it passes across M100, a intermediate spiral Galaxy - which is one of the largest and brightest in the area. It is 55 million lightyears across. Ceres will be just above and slightly to its right.

27th - 28th
March 2023

The Moon moves from below right of Mars to just above left of it over the next two nights. They will be closest in the sky on the 28th, so a great opportunity to see the red planet using the Moon as a sign post to the god of war.

March 2023

As the Moon moves farther left, Mars sits close to the cluster designated M35. This cluster actually contains two for you to see, a large open cluster of bright blue stars and to its bottom right is a packed globular cluster of older more yellower stars, making a really nice contrast of colours - just off of one of Gemini's twins Castors feet.

Clear skies guys, and remember... there's a billion worlds in your back garden!

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