March 2019

Sky Report - March 2019

By Dr. Bob Doyle, Emeritus Faculty
Dr. Doyle taught and was Planetarium Director at Frostburg State University for over 40 years

First Quarter of March

Sunrise is 6:45 a.m. with sunset at 6:10 p.m. Daily sunlight is 11 hr. 25 mn. Sun is in Aquarius. Bright planets at dawn (6 a.m.) are brilliant Venus and bright Jupiter both in Southeast. Saturn is between Venus and Jupiter. Bright planets shine steadily, not twinkling as the night stars. Crescent moon is near Venus on March 2. Moon goes from morning to evening side of the sun on March 6. Look for slender crescent moon low in West on March 7 and 8 at 6:40 p.m. Orion with three star belt is prominent in Southwest in early evening. Orion’s belt points left to Sirius, the night’s brightest star. Big Dipper is high in North Northeast and it’s bowl pours into Little Dipper. Bright golden star Capella high in the North Northwest. The sickle of Leo is high in the Southeast. At dawn (6 a.m.), Cassiopeia is low in North resembling a ‘W’. Extend the Big Dipper’s handle outward to the bright golden star Arcturus, high in the South. In the East is bright white-blue star Vega. In dark sky locations, the Milky Way can be seen running from Cassiopeia, below Vega and down into the South at 5 a.m.

Second Quarter of March

Sunrise is 7:35 a.m. (daylight time) with sunset at 7:15 p.m. Daily sunlight is 11 hr. 40 mn. Sun is in Pisces. Bright planets at dawn (6:30 a.m.) are brilliant Venus (very low), Saturn and bright Jupiter in the South. On March 11, the moon appears above and to the left of the planet Mars in evening sky. On March 12, moon is near the bright orange star of Aldebaran in the evening sky. Half full evening moon is on March 14; this is the best moon shape to spot craters along the moon’s straight left edge. At dawn, (6 a.m.) look for the Scorpion (shaped like a ‘J’) in the South. To the left is Sagittarius, whose brighter stars form an old fashioned tea kettle. Near the spout of the tea kettle is the center of our galaxy. A trio of bright stars in the East is the Summer Triangle. The Milky Way is brightest on the lower side of the Summer Triangle. To see the Milky Way, you need to be in a dark area, free from artificial lighting of stores and parking lots.

Third Quarter of March

Sunrise is about 7:23 a.m. with sunset at 7:24 p.m. Daily sunlight is about 12 hrs. Sun is in Pisces. The bright planet Jupiter can be seen in the South at 6:20 p.m. with the planet Saturn to the left. Brilliant Venus can only be seen with difficulty about 6:50 a.m. Spring officially begins on March 20 when the sun’s direct rays cross the equator, moving North. On this day, the sun rises due East and sets due West over most of the world. The moon is full on the evening of March 20, rising about sunset. Each evening the moon rises about an hour later than the previous evening. At dawn (6 a.m.), the bright planet Jupiter appears in the South above the tail of the Scorpion. The planet Saturn appears in the Southeast to the left of the Tea Kettle (Sagittarius). Both Venus and Mercury are too low at dawn to be seen.

Fourth Quarter of March

Sunrise is about 7:12 a.m. with sunset at 7:30 p.m. Daily sunlight is about 12 hr. 18 mn. Sun is in Pisces. On March 26, the planet Jupiter appears below the moon in the late evening. On March 27, the moon appears half full in the southern dawn. On March 29, the moon appears near the planet Saturn in the early a.m. hours. The planet Mars appears in the star group Taurus in the southwestern evening sky. At month’s end, Mars will be near the 7 Sisters star cluster. At dawn, the Big Dipper is high in the North with its handle pointing nearly straight up. Follow its handle upward to the bright golden star Arcturus. The Summer Triangle, a trio of bright stars is high in the South at dawn.

For a free copy of my 2019 Night Sky Highlights, send an email to rdoyle@frostburg.edu. This lists sunrise and sunset times for every Sunday, the moon-planet line ups and the moon’s main phases for 2019, all on 2 pages.

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Email: jcspeights@frostburg.edu (preferred)
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