At dusk, dim Mars and brilliant Venus draw closer in the west-southwest. Blue-green Uranus lies about 8 degrees above Venus in Pisces, the Fish. They set early.
Greenish Comet Lovejoy cruises westward. Aries, the Ram, chases Pegasus, Winged Horse, onto the western horizon. The Royal Family swings into the northwest: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, daughter Andromeda with our closest galactic neighbor, and Perseus, the Hero. Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, high across the north.
The Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux, drift overhead. The dim Beehive star cluster in Cancer, the Crab, follows the Twins. The Big Dipper rises higher in the northeast. Bright Jupiter glows in the east next to Leo, the Lion. The King of the Planets is brightest and closest to Earth this month.
The westbound Seven Sisters (Pleiades star cluster) lead Taurus, the Bull west of Zenith. Gigantic Orion, the Hunter, strides higher in the southeast in pursuit of the Bull. The Great Orion Nebula, a gas cloud 173 trillion miles in diameter, is filled with newborn stars and lies in Orion’s sword. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius (nearby star) sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog, trotting on its hind legs in the southeast. Canopus radiates rainbow colors from the ancient ship Argo low in the south-southeast.
By 6:30 a.m. Mercury emerges above the southeastern horizon. The waning crescent moon floats above Mercury, left of the Sagittarian Teapot. Silver Saturn, surrounded by icy rings, appears to perch on the head of huge Scorpius crawling higher in the southeast. Antares, red heart, beats in the Scorpion's torso. The stars of Libra twinkle in the south. Spica, in Virgo SpringMaiden, follows Corvus, Crow across the southwest. Golden Jupiter leads the Lion westward. Bright Arcturus, Herdsman, lies overhead. The Big Dipper hangs in the north. Its bowl always faces Polaris, North Star. Vega leads the vast Summer Triangle above the northeastern horizon. The Summer Milky Way arches from southeast to northeast.
At dawn, the waning moon rises on the left of Mercury in the southeast.
New Moon occurs 6:47 p.m.
By nightfall Mars and Venus meet 1.1 degree apart in the west.
At dusk, aim binoculars, telescopes and cameras to a stunning view of the young crescent moon 0.1 degree from Mars and Venus dancing less than 1 degree apart in the west.
Southern Cross public program at FIU tonight has been rescheduled to March 20.\
By nightfall, aim optical equipment to the crescent moon 1 degree above Uranus in the west.
Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org