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Here is a quick look at what’s happening astronomically in March 2014

Jupiter and the Moon March 9 2014
Jupiter and the Moon March 9 2014D. Tondreau

Moon:

  • New Moon: March 1
  • First Quarter Moon: March 8
  • Farthest from Earth: March 11(251,881 miles mini Moon)
  • Full Moon: March 16
  • Last Quarter Moon: March 23
  • Closest to Earth: March 27 (227,238 miles super-size Moon)
  • March 30 New Moon (second New Moon of the month is sometimes called a Black Moon. February did not have a New Moon and January had two like March)

Planets Visible:

Early Evening:

  • Jupiter: look south almost overhead

Morning before sunrise:

  • Venus will be visible in the southeast all month
  • Mercury visible low on the eastern horizon through mid-month
  • Saturn will be visible in the south southwest with a bright Mars to Saturn’s lower right. Both planets move to the west southwest by month’s end.
  • Mars is the very bright star dominating the southwest sky. Below Mars is the bright star Spica in the constellation Virgo. Saturn is left of the pair.

Sun:

  • March 12: The Sun enters the astronomical constellation Pisces
  • March 20: The Sun enters the astrological sign Aries

Earth:

  • March 9: North America starts Daylight Saving Time. Clocks are moved ahead one hour
  • March 20: The Vernal Equinox occurs at 10:57am.Spring starts in the northern hemisphere and Fall in the southern hemisphere
  • March 30: The European Union starts Summer Time (Daylight Saving Time)

Meteors:

  • No significant showers this month

Special Events:

  • March 8: Chamberlin Observatory Open House weather permitting. The observatory’s 20” telescope and telescopes belonging to members of the Denver Astronomical Society will be available for viewing. Click here for more information.
  • March 9: Early evening, the Moon is below Jupiter. Below the Moon is the bright star Betelgeuse (beetle juice). Below Betelgeuse is the bright star Rigel. Both are in Orion. Above Jupiter are the stars Pollux (left), and Castor (right) the Gemini twins.
  • March 19: Early morning before sunrise the Moon is left of Mars. The star below Mars is Spica in the constellation Virgo.
  • March 20-21 the Moon will be next to Saturn
  • March 27: Early morning before sunrise: A thin Crescent Moon will be next to Venus in the East.

Historical Trivia:

  • March 29th, 1974 – NASA's probe Mariner 10 makes the first ever fly-by of Mercury.
  • March 27th, 1989 – Last Soviet probe Phobos 2 suffers a computer failure after orbiting Mars for two months. The failure prevents the probe from releasing two landers on the moon Phobos.

Wishing you clear skies