Moon – Mercury Conjunction

   Saturday morning March 21st the thin 27-day old waning crescent Moon will be about 7o from the innermost planet Mercury as the two rise about an hour before the Sun rises. Should make for a great view in the field of view of binoculars.
   Still adding to the morning planet viewing are the outer planets Saturn, and the close conjunctions between Mars and Jupiter.

   
   
   

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Mars-Jupiter Close Conjunction

   Friday morning March 20th the 26-day old waning crescent Moon will be near the Dwarf Planet Ceres. However the close conjunction (1-2o) between Mars and Jupiter should be an especially good view through the eyepiece of binoculars or the eyepiece of a telescope.

   
   
   

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Lunar Conjunctions

   Tuesday morning March 17th watch for the 23-day old waning crescent Moon to be approaching a group of 3 planets beginning a series of 3 conjunctions. Starting with a conjunction with Mars (10o separation) on the 17th, then a day or so later a conjunction with all three of the planets coming the closest, about 1-2o, to Jupiter and Mars on the 18o. Saturn is about 7o to the east from the Moon, Jupiter and Mars. A day after that the Moon will have passed by Saturn and will be about 7o to the east from Saturn.
   If you watch carefully you will see that Mars is also moving eastward, as are Jupiter and Saturn. However Mars and the Moon are moving faster than the two ringed planets with the Moon moving the most per day. The result is that over the next several days, to the end of this month, Mars will be gradually passing by the two planets as the Moon, relative to Mars, will zoom past.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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March Moon at Descending Node

   Monday March 16th the last quarter Moon crosses the plane of the ecliptic moving south. This is known as the descending node, one of two intersections the Moon’s orbital path (dark green line) has with the ecliptic.

   On the date of the descending node the 22-day old last quarter Moon will be about mid-way across the Milky Way, although with the brightness of the Moon the glow of the Milky Way will not be visible.

   This part of the Milky Way has many beautiful deep sky objects like the two diffuse nebula, M-20 and M-8, currently within a 7×50 binocular field of view including the Moon. But unfortunately not visible until the Moon with its reflected light moves further east.

   
   
   
   
   

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Mars on the Move

   Over the next several days, actually the rest of the month, watch for the planet Mars to move past Jupiter, March 20th, and Saturn on the 31st, as this animated graphic is showing. It is set to 1-day intervals starting on March 12th and ending on April 1st.

   Also watch for the waning crescent Moon to move past the three planets. On the 18th the waning crescent Moon will be near all three of the planets.


   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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Moon-Saturn Conjunction

   This morning not only had nice clear skies but this morning I am in Phoenix Arizona where it was warm enough to be outside for some picture taking. Had a great view from northwest of Phoenix and despite the light pollution I was able to count at least 17 stars spread across the skies!


   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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Moon – Saturn Conjunction, and ISS

   Thursday morning February 20th the 26-day old waning crescent Moon will be about 1-2o from the ringed planet Saturn. Both rise about 2 hours before sunrise local time, and both will easily fit within the field of view of binoculars.

   Adding to viewing the Moon-Saturn conjunction, and nearby Jupiter and Mars will be a fly-by of the International Space Station (ISS) between 6:22 am MST and 6:29 MST. Check viewing opportunities at the Heavens Above web site or NASA’s ISS Sightings web site.
   This star chart from the Heavens Above web site is set for the latitude and longitude of Phoenix Arizona.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.


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