Mar 2nd: Observing With Webb in March 2019

By on March 2, 2019 in

Podcaster: Rob Webb

Title: Observing With Webb in March 2019

Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School

Link: http://mrwebb.podbean.com ;
https://sites.google.com/site/mrwebbonline/ ;
http://www.youtube.com/user/MrWebbPV
https://sites.google.com/site/pvplanetarium/home
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: A great morning lineup in the beginning of the month, all the naked-eye planets visible at some point in the month, and a great lineup ending the month is making March another great morning planetary astronomy month.

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 rob_webb@pequeavalley.org

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Transcript: 

A great morning lineup in the beginning of the month, all the naked-eye planets visible at some point in the month, and a great lineup ending the month is making March another great morning planetary astronomy month.

Naked-eye PLANETS

  • Around Sunset – Mars (SW) until 10:30pm, Mercury (W – first week)
  • Throughout the night – None
  • Morning – Mercury (E – last week), Venus (SE), Saturn (SSE), Jupiter (S)

Mercury

  • Should be able to catch it after sunset in the West, less than one fist-width above the horizon, but only for the first week.  Then, during the las week of March, Mercury will reappear in the morning sky, but very low on the Eastern horizon. You’ll need binoculars and a very clear view.

Venus

  • Rises between 4:30am and 6am, and is the brightest object in the morning sky, other than the Moon. Is only about one fist-width or 10˚ above the horizon

Mars

  • Mars is already in the SW around sunset, traveling toward the W and setting a little after 10:30 each night. Moves closer to Taurus throughout the month. Dimmer, but still brighter and redder than its surroundings.

Jupiter

  • Rising between 2am and 3am, Jupiter will be very bright in the morning, and the highest planet in the South.

Saturn

  • Hangs out between Venus and Jupiter all month

EVENTS…

New Moon – 6th (darkest skies)

First Quarter Moon – 14th (Visible until midnight)

Full Moon – 20th (Visible all night)

Last Quarter Moon – 27th (Visible from midnight into the morning)

Feb 26th – March 3rdMorning Lineup #1 – Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus – Any time after 5am these mornings, you’ll see the three planets lined up (bright Venus is lowest, dimmer Saturn a fist-width to the right and up a little bit, and Jupiter 2.5 fist-widths further from Saturn), with the Moon traveling through. 

  • 26th – Moon is up and to the right of Jupiter
  • 27th – Crescent Moon is just 2˚ above Jupiter
  • 28th – Crescent Moon is in between Jupiter and Saturn
  • 3/1 – Crescent Moon is about 3˚ up and to the right of Saturn
  • 3/2 – Crescent Moon is about 5˚ to the right of Venus
  • 3/3 – VERY THIN crescent Moon 6˚ down and to the left of Venus
  • 10th – Daylight Savings Time Begins at 2am
  • 11thClose Encounter – Moon, Mars – Get out after dinner, find the crescent Moon, and Mars will be about 6˚ to the right until they set around 11pm EDT. Also note Taurus and the Pleiades just above them.
  • 20thSpring Equinox – Astronomically the first day of Spring, even though meteorologically Spring starts in the beginning of March.  Here’s some more info.
  • 25th – April 2ndMorning Lineup #2 – Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and Mercury? – Any time after 6am these mornings, you’ll see the three (maybe FOUR!) planets lined up (bright Venus is lowest, dimmer Saturn 50˚ to the right and up a little bit, and Jupiter 2.5 fist-widths further from Saturn), with the Moon traveling through.  Mercury is about 10˚ to the left of Venus, and a bit lower, but still technically visible, especially toward the beginning of April.
  • 25th – Gibbous Moon is 20˚ up and to the right of Jupiter
  • 26th – Gibbous Moon is only 8˚ up and to the right of Jupiter
  • 27th – Quarter Moon is just 4˚ to the left of Jupiter
  • 28th – Quarter Moon is in between Jupiter and Saturn
  • 29th – Crescent Moon is about 3˚ down and to the left of Saturn
  • 30th – Crescent Moon is in between Venus and Saturn
  • 31st – Thin crescent Moon is in between Venus and Saturn
  • April 1st – Thin crescent Moon is 10˚ to the right of Venus
  • April 2nd – Thin crescent Moon is 4˚ below Venus, with Mercury to the left making an awesome triangle. Bring binoculars.

CONSTELLATIONS…

Use a sky map from www.skymaps.com to help you out.

After Dinner:

Orion & his winter companions –By 7pm, Orion is about as high as it will get for the night about halfway up the southern sky, tempting us to tour the winter constellations. Begin by finding Orion by looking for three stars in almost a straight line and close to each other, Orion’s Belt, which is surrounded by a bigger, vertical, almost rectangle of stars. Orion will be our guidepost for the other winter constellations. Start at the left belt star and draw a straight line connecting them, then continue that line far past the last belt star about 20˚ or two fist-widths held at arm’s length. There you’ll find the V constellation Taurus, with bright red Aldebaran at the top left of the V. Taurus is part of a big cluster of stars known as the Hyades.  Remember that line you just made? Follow it just 10˚ further (one fist-width) and you’ll find a mini-mini-dipper of stars call the Pleiades, which is another open cluster of stars within our Milky Way Galaxy. Let’s go back to the belt, but draw the connecting line from right to left, and continue about 20˚ past the belt, where you’ll find the brightest star in the sky, Sirius. Perhaps you can also see the constellation Canis Major, known as the big dog. We’ll stop there for this month, and pick up next month with Gemini, Auriga, and Canis Minor.

Before Bed:

Auriga, Gemini – Look almost straight up, and you’ll find a pentagon shaped constellation which is the Charioteer Auriga, with its brightest star Capella. Gemini, the twins, will be to the left of Auriga, with bright Castor and Pollux heading them up. For reference, Orion will be below both of them.

Before Work:

Big Dipper, Bootes, Virgo – The Big Dipper should be easy to find in the NW. Follow the curve of his tail or handle to the next bright star you see, about 30˚ away, which is Arcturus. “Follow the arc to Arcturus.” That’s the brightest star in Bootes, which looks like a kite. Take that same curve, and follow it about another 20˚ to “speed on to Spica”, the brightest star in Virgo, one of my favorite constellations, since it reminds me of the Dickinson Mermaid.

Use a sky map from www.skymaps.com to help you out.

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy
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The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by Planetary Science Institute. Audio post-production by Richard Drumm. Bandwidth donated by libsyn.com and wizzard media. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. Please consider supporting the podcast with a few dollars (or Euros!). Visit us on the web at 365DaysOfAstronomy.org or email us at info@365DaysOfAstronomy.org. This year we will celebrates the Year of Everyday Astronomers as we embrace Amateur Astronomer contributions and the importance of citizen science. Join us and share your story. Until tomorrow! Goodbye!

About Rob Webb

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