As the month of March begins, those of you who are early risers will notice a beautiful sight in the eastern sky before dawn. On the 1st brilliant Venus will be about ten degrees above the horizon. About 15 degrees to the upper right of Venus you’ll see Saturn, and two and a half degrees to the upper right of Saturn be a very thin waning crescent Moon. Twenty degrees farther in the same direction you’ll find bright Jupiter. These astronomical bodies appear along this linear arc because it is the ecliptic (the path of the Sun though our sky and the plane of the solar system). This stunning sky scene will be an excellent photo opportunity, so I encourage anyone to capture it.
Everyone with an interest in astronomy probably has a favorite constellation. It may be because of the star pattern’s mythology, its shape in the sky, or for the beautiful objects that reside within its boundaries.
While the months of March, April and May are meteorologically spring months, an astronomer can still observe many of the sky’s prominent winter constellations early in the season. What’s more is that the temperatures outside may be more moderate.
One of my favorite constellations is the most prominent star pattern in the winter sky—Orion, the mighty hunter. However, on March 1 this large constellation, 26th in size, can easily be found about halfway above the southern horizon after sunset.