March Night Skies

There is not much of a change in March from February except the Spring Equinox, where day and night are equal, will be here on March 20th at 5:37 AM. Orion will be heading down with Leo being prominent in the evening sky. This is the time of galaxies! Virgo and Coma Berenices will be at the zenith mid-March around midnight. If you want to see galaxies, they are the place to view along with Leo! Ursa Major will also be prominent at that time and there are amazing galaxies you can find there as well! Mars is still an evening apparition but, as it is getting farther from us, there probably won’t be any features to see. Cancer will be up with the ever beautiful Beehive Cluster!

With regard to viewing galaxies, the Leo Trio are fairly easy to find and to see.  While they have a magnitude of 12.6, they are pretty bright as they are compact.  Please see the Leo star chart for their location.  You can practically just throw your scope up to Virgo and Coma Berenices and see galaxies, realizing which galaxy it is will be the hard part!

Moon PhaseDateTime of Day
Last QuarterMarch 58:32 P.M.
New MoonMarch 135:23 A.M.
First QuarterMarch 2110:41 A.M.
Full MoonMarch 282:50 P.M.

Finally, I would like to encourage beginner astronomers to put down your telescopes and binoculars and pick up your star chart to locate and memorize the constellations.  I am a master observer now but, when I started, I could not find these tiny objects in the huge night sky for the life of me!  It is so important to have a good star chart and to be able to walk your way around the night sky.  All objects in the night sky have a designation (think of it as an address) and if you don’t know how to put that with your star chart, it will be truly difficult to find anything.  It will not take long to learn, so don’t be discouraged!  Feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have at webmaster@olympicastronomicalsociety.org!

Clear skies everyone!