March 2020 Astronomical Highlights
The Visible Planets
Mercury is not seen this month from our location. It tries to emerge out of the rising Sun’s light by the end of the month but hovers to low to be easily visible from high northern latitudes.
Venus is found shining brilliantly high in our western evening sky after sunset. It begins the month in the constellation of Pisces, the fish, and then moves through the constellation of Aries, the ram, from March 4 to March 29. After March 29, Venus moves into the constellation of Taurus, the bull. Look for a nice pairing of the waxing crescent Moon with Venus after sunset on March 27 and 28.
Mars is found low in the south-southeastern sky before sunrise and spends the entire month traversing the stars of Sagittarius, the archer. Before sunrise on March 18 look for a nice conjunction of Mars with Jupiter and the waxing crescent Moon, with the fainter planet Saturn just to the north.
Jupiter is found low in the south-southeastern sky before sunrise and is in the constellation of Sagittarius, the archer. Jupiter joins with the slim waning crescent Moon and the fainter planets Mars and Saturn for a nice conjunction on March 18. By the end of the month look for a nice closer conjunction of the bright planet Jupiter with the two fainter planets, Mars and Saturn.
Saturn appears low above the southeastern horizon before sunrise during this month and starts out the month in the constellation of Sagittarius, the archer. From March 21 onwards, Saturn is found in the constellation of Capricornus, the sea goat. The very slim waning crescent Moon can be seen near and below Saturn before sunrise on March 19. On March 31 look for a very close conjunction of Saturn with the planet Mars!
March 2 First Quarter Moon
March 9 Full Moon (Worm Moon) Largest Full Moon of 2020!
March 16 Last Quarter Moon
March 24 New Moon
International Space Station (ISS) Observable Passes
Look for passes of the International Space Station before sunrise, from March 1 to March 12. From March 19 onwards the visible ISS passes will take place in the evening hours. Exact times of these passages for your location can be found by visiting the website http://www.heavens-above.com or by using satellite tracking smart phone apps like Sputnik.
March 8 Daylight savings time begins! Add 1 hour of time to your clocks (spring ahead)!
March 9 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Edmonton Centre meeting
7:30 – 9:30 p.m. in the Zeidler Dome at the TELUS World of Science
Free to attend.
See http://www.edmontonrasc.com for more details.
March 17/18 Mars, Saturn and Jupiter seen near the waning gibbous Moon before sunrise.
(conjunction) Best seen in the morning twilight on March 18.
March 19 Spring equinox occurs at about 9:50 p.m. MDT.
March 20 Mars is about 1° south of Jupiter (close conjunction)
March 21–29 School spring break
March 23 Mercury at its greatest elongation west of 28°
March 24 Venus at its greatest elongation east of 46°
March 28 Earth Hour (8:30 – 9:30 pm local time)
March 31 Mars just about 1° south of the planet Saturn (close conjunction)