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TOPIC: March 2010


L

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RE: March 2010
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Ringed Saturn is also in the early evening sky now between Leo and Virgo. The moon will be a good locater for Saturn on Sunday, March 28. The planet will be about nine degrees to the left.
On March 30 the just-past full Moon will join Spica, the brightest star in Virgo. It will be just to the right of the bright star.

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The planet Mars has been our celestial guest in the Shamokin night sky all this past winter, and now that we're into spring, it's starting out the evening nearly straight overhead. As soon as it's dark enough, which is now later because of daylight savings time, crank your cranium to the zenith and look for the brightest star-like object you can see. You might want to give your neck and back a break (in a good way) and bring out the reclining lawn chairs and relax under our Martian neighbour. Even with the naked eye, Mars sports a copper-ish red hue. Mars is very bright in our early spring skies, but it'll continue to wane in brightness as Earth and Mars drift farther apart from each other as both planets continue their independent circuits around the sun.
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The Moon crossed the southern part of the Pleiades star cluster in Taurus (20-21 March) at 0:00 UT.
A lunar occultation could have been seen from South America.

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The next clear night be sure to step outside and see four planets. Facing south, one will be to your right, one almost overhead, one to your left, and another under you feet.
Actually, the night doesnt have to be clear to see the planet under your feet and it is easier to see this one in the daytime. Thats because at night, this particular planet only presents its dark side. The other planets are visible to you because their shiny side is aiming at you.
Venus is currently visible low in the west during evening twilight.

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22:10 UT, Mercury is close to Uranus: only 39.6' separated

mercury150310b.gif
Expand (13kb, 800 x 500)

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New moon arrives March 15 at 5:01 p.m. The very next night, you may be able to see the very slim crescent moon low on the western horizon. Look about 30 minutes after sunset. The sliver of the moon lies to the lower right of Venus. Binoculars will help. The pairing is still impressive on March 17. The crescent will be a bit thicker, and will be positioned noticeably higher, to the upper right of Venus.
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It's time to turn the clocks forward.

US Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, so clocks should be set an hour later tonight.
The United States--with a few local exceptions--loses an hour so that there is more daylight in the afternoon and evening.

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On March 21, the ringed planet Saturn will be at its closest point to the Earth for the year, a point called opposition.
At the moment of opposition, the Earth is positioned directly between Saturn and the Sun, placing the two planets as close together as they can be.

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