Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The Sky This Week - Thursday March 18 to Thursday March 25
Evening sky looking North showing Saturn, Mars and the Moon at 10:00 pm local daylight saving time (9:00 pm non-daylight saving) on Thursday March 25. Click to embiggen.
The First Quarter Moon is Tuesday March 23.
Saturn is visible low in the late evening sky as the bright yellow object between the bright stars Regulus and Spica. Saturn is rising around 8 pm local daylight saving time, and is easily seen in the east in the late evening sky. Saturn is at opposition, when it is at its biggest and brightest, on Monday March 22. Now is the best time for telescopic observation of the ringed world.
However, it is best to wait until 11 pm or midnight, when Saturn is quite high in the sky for the best telescopic views. Saturn's' rings are opening, and look quite beautiful, even in a small telescope. If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums.
Mercury is lost in the twilight.
Bright white Venus continues to rise above from the twilight glow. People with flat, level horizons and good eyesight can see Venus above the western horizon half an hour after Sunset. On the 18th, the thin crescent Moon is near Venus.
Jupiter reappears in the morning twilight, but is difficult to see without a flat, unobstructed horizon.
Western horizon showing Venus and the Moon at 7:45 pm local daylight saving time (6:45 pm non-daylight saving) on Thursday March 18, click to embiggen.
In the evening Mars can be seen low in the northern sky as the brightest (and clearly red) object in that part of the sky. Now is still a good time to look at our sister world in a telescope. Shortly before 10:00 pm local daylight saving time (9:00 pm non-daylight saving time) Mars is at is highest in the sky, this is the best time to look at Mars in a telescope. Mars is a distinct nearly full disk in a small telescope, although somewhat small. Larger telescopes will be needed to distinguish surface features. Red Mars is in the constellation of Cancer, nearly halfway between Pollux and the Beehive Cluster. Mars also forms a line with the bright stars Sirius and Procyon. On Thursday March 25 the waxing Moon is close to Mars.
Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm ADST, Western sky at 10 pm ADST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch. Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.
Labels: weekly sky