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Post Info TOPIC: March 2008


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RE: March 2008
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Mercury: at magnitude 0.1, starts the month in the constellation of Sagittarius. Best seen from 5.7h - 6.5h. Mercury is at aphelion on the 11th.The planet is mostly unobservable this month.
(On March 2nd, RA=21h09m20s Dec=-1632.2' (J2000) Distance=0.930AU Elongation= 27 Phase k=55% Diameter=7.2")

Venus: is a morning star of magnitude -4.0, The planet is in constellation Capricornus at the start of the month. It is best seen from 6.4h -7.9h. Venus is at aphelion on the 21st. The planet is mostly unobservable this month.
(On March 2nd, RA=21h17m22s Dec=-1629.8' (J2000) Distance=1.488AU Elongation= 25 Phase k=90% Diameter=11.2")

spacer.gif Moon Phase Now!

Moon Phase Now!

Earth: The vernal equinox occurs at 5:48. Spring (Northern Hemisphere) begins at the equinox.

The Moon is at Perigee on the 10th at 21:31.1 UT, (distance to earth center: 366323.2 km) and at apogee on the 26th, at 20:07.3 UT, (distance to earth center: 405058.4 km). The Moon is 1.7 from Mars on the 15th. The Moon will occult the first magnitude star Antares (Alpha Scorpii) at 10:00 UT on the March 27th. The event is visible from New Zealand, Polynesia, and parts of South America.

Mars: at magnitude 0.2 starts the month in the constellation Taurus. The planet is best seen from 18.3h - 4.2h. The planet moves into Gemini on the 5th. Mars is 1.7 degrees from the M35 open cluster in Gemini on the 10th.
(On March 1st, RA= 5h55m54s Dec=+2614.6' (J2000) Distance=1.042AU Elongation=108 Phase k=90% Diameter=9.0")

Jupiter: is still bright at magnitude -2.0 in the constellation Sagittarius. On the 30th Jupiter is 3.0 degrees from the Moon.
Jupiter will be just visible very low in the south-east morning sky for all but the start of the month. The planet is best seen from 4.9h - 6.9h.
(On March 2nd, RA=19h08m04s Dec=-2226.2' (J2000) Distance=5.712AU Elongation= 56)

The planet Jupiter is a source of huge radio storms. Click the link to hear the live audio stream.
The radio outbursts are in the frequency range 18 - 32 MHz. Sensitive receivers translate Jupiter's radio waves to audio sounds.
Click! For alternative listening site.
click here! for Great RedSpot Transit times.
Click! Check forum for Satellite predictions.

Saturn: at magnitude 0.2 sits in the constellation Leo. The planet is best seen from 18.3h - 6.3h. The planet is the brightest object in the constellation and worth a look through binoculars this month.
(On March 1st, RA=10h28m18s Dec=+1134.4' (J2000) Distance=8.298AU Elongation=173)

click here! for interactive Saturn moon calculator .

Uranus is in the constellation Aquarius, near Lambda Aquarii, magnitude 3.7. Uranus at magnitude 5.9, has a bluish-green hue and appears 3.7 arcseconds wide. The planet is best seen from 18.1h - 18.2h. Uranus is in conjunction with the Sun on the 8th.
(On February 1st, RA=23h11m41s Dec= -559.3' (J2000) Distance=20.901AU Elongation= 34)

Neptune: in the constellation Capricornus less than 3 degrees northeast of the 4.3 mag star Iota Capricornii. On the 5th, an occultation of Neptune by the Moon is visible from Mexico, Polynesia, and Australia. A telescope will usually show a tiny bluish dot, only 2.5 arcseconds wide (mag 7.9).
(On November 1st,
RA=21h26m36s Dec=-1521.4' (J2000) Distance=29.851AU Elongation=100)

Pluto is in the constellation Sagittarius (mag 13.9). Normally, a finder chart is necessary to help in identifying the 0.1" diameter dwarf planet. The dwarf planet is best seen from 19.7h - 4.9h .
(On March 1st, RA=18h03m11s Dec=-1707.3' (J2000) Distance=31.736AU Elongation= 71)

Asteroid 2 Pallas is in conjunction with the Sun at midnight on the 30th.

The Sun enters the zodiac sign Aries on the 21st March.



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Catalogue Number Name International
Designator
Country Decay
Date
RCS
31230 FENGYUN 1C DEB 1999-025BLL PRC 2008-02-14 0.01
32377 DELTA 2 R/B 2007-059B US 2008-02-14 8.62
32270 SL-6 R/B (1) 2007-049C CIS 2008-02-17 10.34
32434 FENGYUN 1C DEB 1999-025DAW PRC 2008-03-06 0.05
32386 DELTA 2 R/B(1) 2007-062C US 2008-03-26 7.12
29990 FENGYUN 1C DEB 1999-025LQ PRC 2008-03-28 0.14
32262 DELTA 2 R/B(1) 2007-047C US 2008-04-13 1.99


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planetmar08

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planDiaMar08

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Watch out for sporadic meteors. Their rates for the Northern Hemisphere are now reaching a plateau. Expect around 12 random meteors per hour during the morning hours

You can listen to them by tuning to the 67 MHz meteor radar in Roswell, NM.

Shower Activity Period Maximum Radiant Velocity ZHR
Date R.A. Dec. km/s
Delta Leonids Feb 15-Mar 10 Feb 22 11:12
+16 23 2
Beta Leonids Broad Mar 4 11.0h 13.2 21.2 4.0
Alpha Virginids Mar 10 176 +9 2
Theta Virginids Mar 10 176 +9 2
Gamma Normids 11 - 22 Mar 11 16.7 -44.0 58.9 5.5
Gamma Virginids Jan 25 to April 15 Mar 25 12.0 5.7 22.2 4.6
Yes, click this! for UK (A.Smith)

Radio Meteor Observation Station Track



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Highlights

Start of Spring
On the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, March 20th, the Sun moves north of the Earth's Equator. From the Vernal Equinox until the Autumnal Equinox, in September, the Sun will be in the Northern Hemisphere. On the Equinox, the Sun rises due East and sets due West. The festival of the Goddess Eostar, to whom the hare and the scarlet egg are sacred, takes place at the Vernal Full Moon.
From a very dark location at that time, look for the Zodiacal Light, a huge soft glowing column of light in the western horizon. It is the light of the Sun reflected off dust particles in the inner solar system. Its axis closely coincides with the ecliptic.

The Andromeda Galaxy
The great Andromeda Galaxy ("M31") is clearly one of the most glorious and resplendent of all deep-sky objects, and is visible in the northern skies until about midnight. At 2 million light years distant its regarded as the furthest thing visible to the unaided eye and is frequently called a sister galaxy to our own. Easily witnessed as a fuzzy elongated patch 4 degrees long (8 times the diameter of the full Moon), it is one of the most famous objects in our sky. Now take a few minutes and imagine being on a planet in M31, gazing up one evening and you would likely see our home as a ghostly-elongated patch high above in the alien skies. M31 was the first object positively identified as being located outside the Milky Way. Previously the Universe was thought not to extend beyond our own Galaxy, and the galaxies were felt to be disk shaped clouds of gas, possibly in the process of forming a new solar system like our own. This discovery in 1926 complete redefined our understanding of the Universe, its size and our place in it. When you find the galaxy, hold out your hand and cover it up. You have just hidden an estimated 300 billion stars and at nearly 200,000 light years across it is one of the largest galaxies known. The whole mass slowly rotates around the central hub; the core takes about 11 million years while the outer arms 90 million years or more. There is a small satellite galaxy, M32 that orbits M31 similar to our own Magellanic Clouds visible in the Southern Hemisphere.
click here! For very large picture

Open cluster, M41
Within the constellation Canis Major, the great dog, is a splendid star cluster called M41. Located just south of Sirius (the brightest star in the sky next to the Sun), it is a large naked eye object of about 100 stars. The cluster is moving away from us at around 20 miles/second and is said to be about 20 light years across. This is one of the few deep-sky objects to have been recorded by the ancients, being mentioned by Aristotle around 325 BC.

The Crab Nebula, M1.
The famous Crab Nebula, M1. is nestled near the left horn of Taurus the Bull, you will find the Crab, so called due to its spindly, delicate appearance. Also known by the less romantic name of "M1", it was discovered in 1731, and is the remnant of the supernova of July 4, 1054 AD. Its hydrogen cloud is expanding at a rate of over 600 miles/second making it well over six light years across. M1 is home to one of the strongest x-ray sources known. Its source was traced to a neutron star, the first ever seen. A neutron star is the final remnant of a supernova which collapsed so tightly on itself that it is likely on the order of 6 miles in diameter yet with a density so great a single teaspoon full would be, well, really really REALLY heavy (on the order of a 1000 million tons). This discovery of the Crab Nebula's central star was the first visible evidence of such a peculiar beast and only happened when after first being detected by radio. As the star collapsed it picked up a spin, and as it would get smaller the spin rate would increase, not at all unlike an ice-skater who spins faster when she holds her arms in close to her body. Combine this with several other extreme conditions; radio energy was shot out of the poles much like a beacon from a lighthouse in the depths of the night. In this case the lighthouse was flashing us once every 1.33 seconds. At first some astronomers felt that this might be a sign of extraterrestrial intelligence, but more rational heads prevailed once the star was visually detected and seen to flash on and off. Since then well over a hundred of these "pulsars" have been discovered, one flashing of the incredible rate of 30 times a second! At ninth magnitude, the Crab is probably too dim to see with binoculars but is clearly visible in modest telescopes.



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