Skylights: March 25 through March 31

Mar 24

Written by:
3/24/2013 8:30 PM  RssIcon

The Moon is full on the the 27th, so for much of the week - at least the early part of it in the evening - deep sky viewing will be severely limited.  But Jupiter is still well up for several hours in the west after sunset, and Saturn rises enough before midnight to be at a respectable viewing elevation by the twelve o'clock hour.

But don't dismiss the Moon!  In fact, that's why this week's "Eyes on the Sky" video highlights the lunar surface.  It's big, it's bright, you don't need large aperture to see a lot, and you don't have to hunt for it - just look up at that bright object at night.  So early on, be sure to check out the Schiller-Zucchius Basin, the nearby crater Schiller, and the one-two 90-degrees crater-rays Messier and Messier A up in Mare Fecunditatis.  (And for anyone seeing this months or years later, those features are always visible and worth checking out - here's the PDF chart to find them).

Later in the week, the Moon's revolution takes it first between Spica and Saturn on the 28-th, and a day later on the other side of Saturn.  This could make for a nice sight naked eye, or even for wide field photographs - though catching the bright light of the Moon with the dimmer stars is tricky, at best.

Technically Messier 67 will be visible all week, as it is nicely placed near the meridian a couple hours after sunset, but the Moon's light will undoubtedly cause interference from Monday to late week.  But the weekend will see the Moon rising enough later that darker skies will prevail long enough to take some opportunities to track down this "little brother" (sister?) of the larger and more impressive Messier 44 nearby, also in Cancer.  And given the chance, check out one of the prior week's objects too; 27 Hydrae is ideally located too..

Skylights for the week of March 25 thru March 31, 2013

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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.