| Observatory |
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...
The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal astro-experiences to look forward to.
Fri. March 1 – Early risers this morning have the chance of observing the thin waning crescent Moon in the company of Saturn low in the eastern sky. The separation will only be about the width of two fingers.
Sat. March 2 – Continuing its review of bright planets, tonight the waning crescent Moon will be in the vicinity of brilliant Venus, peaking over the pre-dawn eastern mountains and separated by only about the width of two fingers.
Wed. March 6 - A reminder that a window to observe the Zodiacal light will continue for the next couple of weeks. Under dark sky conditions, look for an arch of faint, hazy light stretching up from the western horizon. You will be looking at light being scattered by the leftover dust in the Sun's equatorial plane.
Wed. March 6 – This is New Moon night with milder overnight temperatures tempting observers and imagers to explore deep sky objects in a dark sky.
Thurs. March 7 – This evening there will be a challenging observation available to those who can reach a low western horizon. The very thin fingernail paring crescent Moon will provide a fingerpost to Mercury. Look for the elusive innermost planet a bit less than the width of your fist at arm’s length to the right of the crescent.
Sat. March 9 – A spring opportunity to capture the outer planet Uranus will be made easier tonight thanks to the Moon. Use a telescope to spy the small greenish disk about the width of three fingers north of the crescent.
Sat. March 9 - A reminder that Daylight Saving Time begins tomorrow so clocks, watches and microwave ovens should be 'sprung ahead' one hour before you retire for the night.
Mon. March 11 – The expanding crescent Moon will be just over the width of three fingers from Mars in the early western sky tonight.
Tues. March 12 – It is always an inspiring sight is when a crescent Moon traverses near the stars of the Hyades open cluster, and this is what will be underway in the sky tonight.
Thurs. March 14 – This is First Quarter Moon night with the neatly divided lunar sphere adding magic to the early spring evening, and tempting binocular and telescope users to enjoy the detail of silhouetted craters along the terminator.
Mon. March 18 – The familiar shape of Leo, which is synonymous with spring evening skies, will be joined by the waxing gibbous Moon tonight. Regulus, at the bottom of the reversed question mark star asterism, will be only the width of a finger from our neighbour.
Mon. March 18 - Algol the blinking Devil Star will put on a performance this evening. The eclipsing binary star will be at minimum brightness from 9.15pm to 11.15pm. You might compare its brightness with neighbouring stars in Perseus early in the evening and check out the difference in brightness around 10pm.
Wed. March 20 – This is Full Moon night with Luna looking over one horizon as the Sun sets behind the other. Full Moon night is always dramatic, particularly with the early signs of spring appearing in the Okanagan Valley.
Wed. March 20 - This is a big day since it marks the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere. The actual moment of the vernal equinox will occur at 2.58pm.
Thurs. March 21 – Earlier this month we included a reminder about trying to observe the Zodiacal light. The next two weeks will provide the best opportunity this spring to catch the triangle of faint, hazy light stretching up from the western horizon.
Wed. March 27 – The waning gibbous Moon will check up on Jupiter’s progress as the giant planet continues its climb into the night sky tonight. Only the width of two fingers will separate them.
Thurs. March 28 – This is Last Quarter Moon night. The reverse lit half sphere will peek over the eastern mountains around midnight, hanging around to ornament the sky high overhead the following morning.
Fri. March 29 – Saturn will receive a visit from the waning crescent Moon early this morning. They will be close… just a bit more than the width of a finger held at arm’s length separating them.
Sat. Sun. March 30, 31 – This weekend presents an early option for a Messier Marathon event, though Alan Whitman advises that the best opportunity for our latitude will arrive with the New Moon on the night of April 4, 5. With the Moon out of the way, and if the weatherman cooperates, a dark sky will be available for observers to attempt to seek out as many of Charles Messier’s list of 110 celestial objects as possible.
Sun. March 31 – Mars continues to be left behind by Earth’s more rapid progress in its orbit, however our neighbour’s ruddy presence is still ornamenting the evening sky. This evening it will form an attractive binocular view with the contrasting bluish stars of the Pleiades low in the western sky.