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Current Astronomy "Headlines"

Full Moon
March 5

Last Quarter March 13

New Moon March 20

First Quarter
March 27

Listed below are notable astronomical events coming up for the month of
March 2015:

Naked-Eye Planets

In March, Mercury is a morning object, rising before the Sun in the east in the constellation Capricornus. It spends the month crossing the rest of Capricornus, all of Aquarius, and finally settling into western Pisces by month’s end, all the while cruising closer to the glare of sunrise.

Venus is setting in the evening sky after sunset in March, starting off above the planet Mars over the western horizon in the constellation Pisces. About halfway through the month, Venus crosses into the constellation Aries and finishes out the month approaching its western edge.

In March, Mars is setting low in the west, only about 5 degrees lower than Venus at the beginning of the month in Pisces. Mars loses ground, ever so slightly, after sunset for the whole month, crossing Pisces in that time. By month’s end, Mars has just barely crossed over into western Aries.

Jupiter begins March in eastern Cancer, just about a month after opposition, so the giant planet is already above the horizon after sunset. Jupiter stays in Cancer the entire month, exhibiting retrograde motion nightly to the west.

In March, Saturn begins the month rising at a little about 12:45 a.m. within about 2-3 degrees north of the star Acrab (Beta1 Scorpii) in the head of Scorpius. Saturn is nearly stationary against the stars all month long, preparing to begin retrograde motion next month.

Telescopic Planets

In March, Uranus is in the constellation Pisces all month long, sinking rather rapidly into the glare of sunset. By month’s end, Uranus is only about 6 degrees ahead of the Sun by sunset. Next month comes solar conjunction.

Neptune is rising just barely before the Sun at the beginning of March in the constellation Aquarius, although it will rise ever earlier all month long. On the morning of the 18th of the month, Mercury passes within about 1-2 degrees of the distant blue giant planet. By month’s end, Neptune rises a little after 5:45 a.m.

Dwarf Planets

Ceres begins March in the constellation Sagittarius, crossing into Capricornus by the last 3 days of the month. By that time, Ceres rises a little after 4 a.m.

Pluto is in the constellation Sagittarius for the month of March, but (as usual) barely moves in annual motion through the constellation. It will rise at a little after 2:45 a.m. by the end of the month.






Meteor Showers - http://amsmeteors.org/showers.html

Viewable Comets - http://cometography.com/current_comets.html

Special events - http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights



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