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TOPIC: March 2010


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International Women's Day

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The Moon is near (1.3 degrees) to Antares (Alpha Scorpii) at 2:00 UT, 7th  March, 2010.

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Saturn Rings in the Spring

We are just two weeks from the first day of spring, when winter ends in our minds and we endure mud season until the leaves come out. This year, when the sun sets due west on the vernal equinox, we can turn around and catch Saturn rising in the night sky.
We earth-riders pass between the sun and Saturn on the day after the equinox. The ringed planet will thereafter be higher in twilight each evening throughout spring, joining ruddy Mars overhead and brilliant Venus to the west.

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Dog star since ancient times, Sirius still shines brightly

This is the time of year when the brightest star in the sky shines at its highest in early evening. Look south after dinnertime, and you'll see Sirius sparkling whitely even through the worst city skyglow.
Sirius is the nearest object beyond our solar system that New Englanders can see with the naked eye, which is one reason it looks so bright. It's only 8.6 light-years away. Alpha Centauri is only half that far, but we can't see it from our latitudes. A handful of dim little red-dwarf stars are closer than Sirius, but they require binoculars or a telescope.

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This evening, the planets Venus and Uranus are visible for a very short time after sunset. The two planets are close together, and observable in the same field of view with a pair of binoculars.
The event is probably the last chance for beginners to observe Uranus before it is lost into the glare and conjunction with the Sun.

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1747030310.gif
17:47 UT, 3rd March, 2010

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Saint David's Day is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, and falls on 1 March each year.
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PLANDIAfeb10.gif

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March is the last full month to enjoy the full complement of winter constellations in the northwestern Washington skies.
Orion the Hunter is still the main attraction in the night sky. As darkness sets in later in the evening, the constellation is about halfway up in the southwestern sky, looking very much like a giant hourglass.

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