Southern Cross Stargazer for March 9-15, 2014

 

Sunday

Daylight Savings Time began at 2 a.m. Sunday.

By nightfall, blue-green Uranus, in Pisces, the Fish, drifts closer to the western horizon. The bright moon and golden Jupiter float together in Gemini. The Gemini Twins twinkle to the left of Jupiter. The dim Beehive cluster shimmers below the Twins, in Cancer, the Crab.

Leo, the Lion, climbs higher in the east. The Big Dipper clears the northeastern horizon. Aim binoculars to the colorful double stars in the curve of the Dipper’s handle. Polaris marks the tip of the Little Dipper’s handle. Capella guides Auriga, the Charioteer, across the northwest.

The delicate Seven Sisters lead Taurus, the Bull, toward the northwest. Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). Mighty Orion, the Hunter, strides across the south taking aim at the elusive Bull. Orion’s “left shoulder” star Betelgeuse is a red supergiant hundreds of times larger than our sun. Orion’s sword contains the Great Orion Nebula, a huge gas cloud trillions of miles in diameter, where stars are born. Brilliant Sirius, a nearby star, is the blue eye in Orion’s Big Dog trotting toward the south. The Pups trail after the Big Dog. Procyon, the Little Dog, follows Orion. Canopus radiates rainbow colors from the ancient ship low in the south.

About 10 p.m., copper-colored Mars rises in the east, in Virgo, 6 degrees lower left of Spica. Corvus, the Crow, flies higher in the southeast. Bright Arcturus, the Herdsman, sparkles in the northeast. Saturn rises in the southeast around midnight.

Tuesday

At dawn, Mercury rises in the southeast, to lower left of Venus, the brilliant Morning Star. Silver Saturn, in Libra, leads huge Scorpius into the south. Bright Antares, the red heart, beats in the Scorpion’s torso. The Sagittarian Teapot closely follows Scorpius.

Hercules brings Vega, in Lyra the Harp, and the Summer Triangle higher in the northeast. Cygnus, the Swan, flies within the Triangle. The Big Dipper turns toward the northwest. Bright Arcturus sparkles in the west. Mars glows brighter above Spica in the southwest. Corvus, the Crow, flies across the southwest. The large star cluster, Omega Centauri, shimmers low in the southwest. The Lion stalks the western horizon.

Friday

Before sunrise, Mercury reaches its highest altitude in the southeast.

Saturday

Southern Cross high-tech telescopes in Bill Sadowski Park now aim at bright Mars rising in the east about 10 p.m. Saturn may be visible at end of the month. Scouts and students may complete their assignments assisted by Southern Cross Astronomical Society Astros.

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

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