Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sky Events March 2014

Moon Phases

Saturday, Mar. 1, 3:00 a.m. EST

New Moon

The Moon is not visible on the date of New Moon because it is too close to the Sun, but can be seen low in the east as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the west an evening or two after New Moon. This is the first of two New Moons this month.

Saturday, Mar. 8, 8:27 a.m. EST

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around 11 a.m. and sets around 2 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Sunday, Mar. 16, 1:08 p.m. EDT

Full Moon

The Full Moon of March is known as the Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Sap Moon, or Lenten Moon. It rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the Moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Sunday, Mar. 23, 9:46 p.m. EDT

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 2 a.m. and sets around noon. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Sunday, Mar. 30, 2:45 p.m. EDT

New Moon

This is the second New Moon this month. There is no special name for this event. Notice how much closer the Sun and Moon are compared to the New Moon on March 1. At the next New Moon on April 29, the Moon will pass directly in front of the Sun, causing an annular solar eclipse, visible in Antarctica and Australia.


Observing Highlights

Saturday/Sunday, Mar. 9/10, 1 a.m.

Jupiter and the Moon

Saturday night (or rather Sunday morning) at 2 a.m. we turn our clocks forward to Daylight Saving Time. About an hour before that happens, have a look at your western horizon. You’ll see an arch of first magnitude stars: Procyon, Pollux, Castor, and Capella, and suspended beneath them, the planet Jupiter and the slightly gibbous waxing Moon.

Friday, March 14, before sunrise

Mercury at greatest elongation

For observers in the southern hemisphere, this is the best time to see Mercury in the morning sky. Look about half an hour before sunrise, and you will see Mercury half way between brilliant Venus and the horizon, framed by first magnitude stars Altair and Fomalhaut.

Tuesday, Mar. 18–Tuesday, Apr. 1, after evening twilight

Zodiacal Light

The faint glow of the zodiacal light, reflected from millions of tiny interplanetary particles, will be visible from northern latitudes in the western sky right after evening twilight ends. Fainter than the Milky Way, this is only visible in really dark skies. The Milky Way arches from southwest to northwest, while the zodiacal light rises straight up from the western horizon underneath Jupiter.

Tuesday, Mar. 18, 10 p.m. local time

Mars, Spica, and the Moon

Look towards the eastern horizon around 10 p.m. and you’ll see the Moon, two days past Full, rising with the planet Mars to its left and Spica to its right.

Thursday, March 20, 2:07 a.m.

Asteroid Erigone occults Regulus

Asteroid 163 Erigone will pass in front of the first magnitude star Regulus, causing it to blink out of sight for a few seconds. This will be visible only on a narrow path starting over Long Island, New York, through Kingston, Ontario, Algonquin Provincial Park, and the western part of Hudson’s Bay. A map of the predicted path is shown here Erigone itself will be 11th magnitude, not visible to the naked eye.

Thursday, Mar. 20, 12:57 p.m. EDT


The Sun crosses the celestial equator heading north, marking the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere and Autumn in the southern hemisphere.

Thursday, Mar. 20, midnight

Saturn and the Moon

Saturn and the Moon rise together just before midnight in the southeastern sky. Earlier in the day, the Moon occulted Saturn as seen from northeastern South America, southern Africa, and Madagascar.

Saturday, Mar. 22, 4 p.m. EDT

Venus at greatest elongation west

Venus will be at its farthest westward from the Sun, which means that it will also be in perfect “half-moon” phase, lit exactly from its left side.

Sunday, Mar. 23, 10:08 p.m.–10:32 p.m. EDT

Double shadow transit on Jupiter

The shadows of two of Jupiter’s moons, Io and Ganymede, will cross Jupiter’s face simultaneously, visible to observers all across North America.

Thursday, Mar. 27, sunrise

The Moon close to Venus

The slender crescent moon will be just to the left of Venus, which will appear as a miniature crescent in small telescopes.


Mercury is well placed in the morning sky for observers in the southern hemisphere for most of March.

Venus is now a “morning star,” rising in the east just before the sun. It reaches greatest elongation west on March 22.

Mars is continues to brighten close to Spica in Virgo. It rises in the east in mid-evening and is visible the rest of the night.

Jupiter shines brightly in the south most of the night. The Great Red Spot is easier to see than in many recent years, showing a distinct orange color.

Saturn rises in the eastern sky around midnight in the constellation Libra.

Uranus is too close to the Sun to be visible, being in conjunction with the Sun on April 2.

Neptune is too close to the Sun to be visible.

Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
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