Mar 3rd: Observing With Webb in March 2018

By on March 3, 2018 in

Podcaster: Rob Webb

Title: Observing With Webb in March 2018

Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School

Link: ; ;
follow me : @MrWebbPV

To listen to this email as a podcast, go to my Podbean page. To see a video of this information, go to my YouTube Channel

Description:  March will brought you a few planet conjunction to watch. 


Bio: Rob Webb is a physics, astronomy, and sustainability teacher at Pequea Valley High School in Pennsylvania. His passions include teaching, astronomy, astrophotography, planetariums, running, reading, and golf. A proud graduate of Dickinson College in 2005, he also obtained a Master’s Degree in Science Education from Penn State University after conducting research in regards to the current state of planetariums in Pennsylvania. Feel free to contact him at

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Naked-eye PLANETS

  • Around Sunset – Mercury, Venus (W)
  • Throughout the night – Jupiter (EàS)
  • Morning – Saturn, Mars, Jupiter (S


  • Best to look during the 3rd week of March for Mercury, as it is the highest in the sky at this time, about 15˚ above the horizon, and right in the vicinity of Venus in the West right after sunset.


  • Venus changes from about 10˚ to 15˚above the Sun this month. Look West after sunset and find the brightest source of light in that direction, only about a fist-width above the horizon.


  • Rises by 2:30am. Look South around sunrise and find the red object between Jupiter and Saturn, getting closer to Saturn throughout the month, about 25˚ above the southern horizon.


  • Rises around 4:15am at the beginning of the month and 1:45am at the end. Look about 20˚ above the SSE horizon, to the left and down from Mars and at the top of Sagittarius.


  • Rises around midnight in early March, 10pm in late March, in the ESE. Reaches about 30˚ above the S horizon at sunrise, hanging out right in the middle of Libra.


Last Quarter Moon – 7th (Visible from midnight into the morning)

7th – 12thMorning Close Encounter Week – Moon, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn – All week, if you get up after 5:30am, you’ll see all three planets, with the Moon traveling through day to day. Jupiter will consistently be the brightest planet about 30˚ up in the South, with Mars about 15˚ down and to the left, and Saturn about 25˚ down and to the left of that.

       7th – The First Quarter Moon will be 6˚ up and to the right of Jupiter

       8th – The Moon will be almost right in the middle between Jupiter and Mars

       9th – A thinner Moon will be just 4˚ up and to the left of Mars

       10th – The Moon will be almost right in the middle between Mars and Saturn

       11th – A beautiful crescent Moon will be just 2˚ above Saturn

       12th – A very thin crescent Moon will form a nice line of objects, with the Moon visible as early as 5:15am, with Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter finishing the line up and to the right.

New Moon – 15th (darkest skies)  

First Quarter Moon – 23rd (Visible until midnight)


Use a sky map from to visually help you out.

If you’re looking straight up above you…

  • After Sunset (sunset is around 6:30-7:30pm) – Auriga (Taurus is right nearby), Gemini
  • Between Sunset and Midnight – Cancer, Gemini, Lynx, and Leo later in the month
  • Midnight – Leo, Leo Minor, Ursa Major’s legs
  • Early Morning – Corona Borealis, Hercules, Boötes (you can also find the Big Dipper’s handle, and starting from the inside of the handle, follow the arc that those four stars make past the last star in the handle about 30˚ or three fist-widths to the next very bright star you find which is Arcturus, the base of the constellation Boötes. Hence astronomers use the phrase “Follow the Arc to Arcturus”)


Winter: Orion is easy to spot as he is high in the south as the Sun sets.  You can use Orion to find many other winter constellations.

  • Taurus, Pleiades: Find Orion by looking for the three stars in a row that make up Orion’s belt in the East after sunset.  If you draw a line from the left (bottom) star to the right (top) star and keep going right about 20 degrees (about 2 fists at arm’s length) until you reach another very bright star, you will have reached the star Aldebaron in Taurus (the V).  Follow that line a little more (about another fist) and you’ll find the Pleiades.
  • Canis Major: Draw a line from the right (top) star in Orion’s belt to the left (bottom) star, and keep going left about 20 degrees (2 fists again), you’ll come to the brightest star in the sky – Sirius – part of Canis Major.
  • Gemini, Auriga: Above these three constellations are Gemini and Auriga.  The brightest stars in each of these constellations form a circle in the sky.  Going clockwise – Aldebaron (Taurus) – Rigel (Orion – bottom right foot) – Sirius (Canis Major) – Procyon (Canis Minor) – Castor & Pollux (Gemini) – Capella (Auriga).  It makes for great stargazing in the winter sky.

End of podcast:

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