Night Sky Map for March 2017
The Highlights of the Month
Look at the thin crescent Moon on March 29 th to see the Earthshine effect – the non sunlit part of the Moon seen in faint detail illuminated by reflected sunlight from Earth. Also see Mercury to the right of the Moon and Mars above the Moon in twilight skies on this date.
- March skies, Milky Way visible high overhead on moonless evenings in darker skies.
- Jupiter returns to our evening skies, cloud belts and four of Jupiter’s moons visible in a small telescope and the prospects of observing some shadow transit events using larger telescopes.
- Comet 41P ( Tuttle-Giacobini- Kresak) reaches perihelion in mid April , but has a close approach ( 0.14AU ) with Earth in late March and will be well placed for observing in the constellation of Ursa Major ( Binocular required – see notes)
- Double cluster, on the Perseus /Cassiopeia border high overhead, nice pair of star clusters.
- Pleiades (Seven Sister’s) star cluster (M45) now low in south west, best seen with binoculars.
- Beehive cluster (M44) visible to the unaided eye but best seen with binoculars.
- Telescopic triplet of galaxies M65/M66/NGC3628 in the constellation of Leo
- Looking outward from the plane of the Milky Way galaxy, the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies is now visible early evening, best explored on dark, clear moonless evenings.
- Those who are supporting WWF Earth Hour events including the Lights out event (Saturday 25th March 2017 8.30pm to 9.30pm ) may like arrange observing with friends and family and take a look at the March night sky.
For more info on the night sky in March, please see our detailed Sky Notes