Home > Ephemeris Program, Month preview > 03/01/2016 – Ephemeris – Previewing March skies

03/01/2016 – Ephemeris – Previewing March skies

March 1, 2016

Ephemeris for Tuesday, March 1st.  The Sun will rise at 7:19.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 11 minutes, setting at 6:31.   The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 2:15 tomorrow morning.

Let’s look at the skies for the month of March. The sun will pass the celestial equator as the promising season of spring will begin.  Daylight hours in the Interlochen/Traverse City area and will increase from  11 hours and 11 minutes today to 12 hours 45 minutes on the 31st.  The altitude, or angle, of the sun above the southern horizon at local noon will be 38 degrees today and will ascend to nearly 50 degrees on the 31st.  Jupiter will reach opposition from the Sun on the 8th and enter the evening sky.  That evening our time a total solar eclipse will be visible from Indonesia to the Pacific Ocean.  Spring will begin on the 20th at 12:31 a.m.  Easter, announced by the full moon on the 23rd will be celebrated on the 27th for western churches.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


March Star Chart

March Star Chart

Star Chart for March 2016. Created using my LookingUp program. To enlarge in Firefox Right-click on image then click View image.

The planets and stars are plotted for the 15th at 10 p.m. EST.  That is chart time.  Note, Traverse City is located 45 minutes behind our time meridian.  To duplicate the star positions on a planisphere you may have to set it to 45 minutes earlier than the current time.

Evening astronomical twilight ends at 7:34 p.m. EST on the 1st, increasing to 9:14 p.m. EDT on the 31st.

Morning astronomical twilight starts at 6:16 a.m. EDT on the 1st, and decreasing to 6:20 a.m. EST on the 31st.

Add a half hour to the chart time every week before the 15th and subtract a half hour for every week after the 15th.  Before the 13th also subtract an hour for Standard Time.

For a list of constellation names to go with the abbreviations click here.

  • Pointer stars at the front of the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris the North Star
  • A leaky Big Dipper drips on Leo
  • Follow the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper to the star Arcturus

Calendar of Planetary Events

Credit:  Sky Events Calendar by Fred Espenak and Sumit Dutta (NASA’s GSFC)

To generate your own calendar go to http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SKYCAL/SKYCAL.html

Times are Eastern Time.  Some additions made to aid clarity.

    Date  Time(EST) Event
Mar 01  Tu          Venus: 24.9° W
    01  Tu  6:11 pm Last Quarter
    02  We  1:53 am Moon-Saturn: 3.9° S
    03  Th  9:19 am Moon South Dec.: 18.2° S
    07  Mo  5:54 am Moon-Venus: 3.5° S
    08  Tu  4:58 am Jupiter Opposition from the Sun
    08  Tu  8:54 pm New Moon
    08  Tu  8:58 pm Total Solar Eclipse* (Indonesia & Pacific)  
    09  We  1:31 am Moon Descending Node
    10  Th  2:02 am Moon Perigee: 359500 km
    13  Su  2:00 am Daylight Saving Time starts (EDT) Boo Hiss!
    14  Mo  9:44 am Moon-Aldebaran: 0.3° S
    15  Tu  1:03 pm First Quarter
    16  We  1:01 am Moon North Dec.: 18.2° N
    20  Su 12:31 am Vernal Equinox – Yea Spring!
    20  Su  3:05 pm Moon-Regulus: 2.8° N
    21  Mo 11:57 pm Moon-Jupiter: 2.3° N
    22  Tu  8:58 pm Moon Ascending Node
    23  We  7:48 am Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (not visible from here)
    23  We  8:01 am Full Moon
    23  We  4:05 pm Mercury Superior Conjunction with the Sun
    25  Fr 10:16 am Moon Apogee: 406100 km
    28  Mo  2:45 pm Moon-Mars: 4.6° S
    29  Tu 10:58 am Moon-Saturn: 3.8° S
    30  We  6:12 pm Moon South Dec.: 18.2° S
    31  Th 11:17 am Last Quarter
Apr 01              Venus: 17.4° W

* Coverage on NASA-TV-2 & www.exploratorium.edu/eclipse from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Comet Catalina

Comet Catalina has become too faint to be seen in binoculars as it heads out of the solar system.  To follow the comet further go to Seiichi Yashida’s Weekly Bright Comets page. Comet Catalina is no longer the brightest comet on the list, and is currently listed second.  Click on it [C/2013 US10 ( Catalina )] for finder charts and other information.

When last we saw the comet was headed toward the constellation.  But it’s headed almost straight away from the Earth now, and the Earth’s motion around the Sun is making the comet appear to start a loop north of Perseus.  Another proof that Copernicus was right.




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