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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday March 4 to Thursday March 11

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday March 8. Mars has faded and is now the second brightest object after Sirius in the late evening sky. Asteroid Vesta is still bright. Saturn is now seen in the evening above the eastern horizon near the bight stars Regulus and Spica. Venus appears low in the twilight. The Globe at Night sky survey has started.

Evening sky looking east showing Saturn at 10:00 pm local daylight saving time (9:00 pm non-daylight saving) on Friday February 9. Click to embiggen.

The Last Quarter Moon is Monday March 8.

The Globe at Night sky survey has started.

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. However, it is best to wait until 11 pm or midnight, when Saturn is quite high in the sky for the best telescopic views. Saturns' rings are opening, and look quite beautiful, even in a small telescope.

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.

Jupiter is lost to view in the evening twilight.

The asteroid Vesta is visible in binoculars not far from Regulus in the Sickle of Leo. It is just within a binocular field of Gamma Leonis (see Mars diagram below, this PDF map and this description of the opposition of Vesta). Vesta is still bright this week and can be seen easily in binoculars. Over the week you can see Vesta draw further away from gamma Leonis.

Northern horizon showing Mars and the Moon at 10:00 pm local daylight saving time (9:00 pm non-daylight saving) on Friday March 5, 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. Mars was at opposition on January 30, but 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 is at a standstill for this week.

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.

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