Southern Cross Stargazer for March 10-16



Daylight Savings Time begins! About 7:15 a.m., aim binoculars to the sliver of the “old moon” rising on the eastern horizon. In the sunset afterglow, binoculars give best views of dim Comet PanSTARRS coming from the southern Hemisphere. It appears about 5 degrees above the western horizon. The comet cruises 28 million miles from the sun’s surface. It begins a meltdown and forms an icy tail. The comet will climb higher in the northwest and fade late in the month.

The delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) lead Taurus, Bull and bright Jupiter westward. Ruddy Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). Aries, Ram, butts his head against the western horizon. Double star Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, across the north. The Big Dipper rises in the northeast. Leo, Lion, crawls higher in the east. The Gemini Twins reach the Zenith. The Beehive star cluster follows the Twins. Mighty Orion, Hunter, strides across the south. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius (nearby star) sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog, trailed by the Pups, in the southeast. Canopus radiates rainbow colors from the ancient ship Argo in the south. Late evening, Corvus, Crow, flies ahead of Spica, in Virgo, and Saturn, in Libra, in the southeast. Bright Arcturus twinkles in the northeast.


New moon occurs at 3:51 p.m.


From an open field, lake or boat, focus camera and binoculars on Comet PanSTARRS 4 degrees left of the young crescent moon with dark Earthshine low in the west.


By 8 p.m. the moon floats directly above the comet.


Program: Southern Cross Astros present a talk on planetary geology at 8:30 p.m. Free SCAS programs include prizes, discussions, food in CP-145 lecture hall, FIU Physics building at Modesto Maidique campus. Park in the campus garage at Southwest 109th Avenue and Eighth Street and follow signs to CP-145. Check SCAS hotline: 305-661-1375 and for public CometWatch.


About 6:30 a.m. the Big Dipper edges into the northwest. The Lion slinks low in the west. Saturn follows Spica across the southwest. Huge Scorpius crawls into the south followed by the Sagittarian Teapot. Bright Arcturus lies overhead. Vega brings the Summer Triangle higher in the northeast.

Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375,

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