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Star Gazing - March 18, 2019
Monday, March 18
• The bright waxing gibbous Moon traverses the sky in company with 1st-magnitude Regulus tonight.
They're only a couple of degrees apart in early evening (for North America). Watch them pull farther
apart hour by hour.
Tuesday, March 19
• The Moon, almost full, shines in the dim hind feet of Leo. Upper right of it after dark is Regulus, about a
fist and a half at arm's length away.
Left of the Moon by about half that distance is Denebola, Leo's tailtip. Denebola is 0.8 magnitude dimmer
than Regulus (meaning about half as bright) and it'll also be closer to the Moon's dazzling glare. Depending
on the clarity of your air, Denebola may or may not be a challenge to pick out.
Wednesday, March 20
• Full Moon (exact at 9:43 p.m. EDT), and this qualities as a supermoon; it's just two days after perigee.
The Moon shines a trace bigger and brighter than usual, in the head of Virgo under Leo.
• Coincidentally, today is also the equinox. Spring begins (in the Northern Hemisphere) at 5:58 p.m. EDT,
when the center of the Sun crosses the equator heading north for the season. The Sun rises and sets almost
exactly east and west, and very nearly 12 hours apart. (And no, eggs don't balance any better than they
Thursday, March 21
• Now that it's spring, the signature fall-and-winter constellation Cassiopeia is retreating downward after
dark. But for skywatchers at mid-northern latitudes Cassiopeia is circumpolar, never going away
completely. Look for it fairly low in the north-northwest these evenings. It's standing roughly on end.
By midnight or 1 a.m. it's at its lowest due north, lying not quite horizontally.
• Algol, descending in the northwest, should be at minimum light for a couple hours centered on 10:04 p.m.
EDT (7:04 p.m. PDT). Algol takes several additional hours to rebrighten.
Mars and Pleiades, March 22, 2019
Right after dusk, watch the Pleiades sink closer to Mars day by day. The cluster will pass about 3° to
Mars's upper right March 29–31.
Friday, March 22
• Immediately after dark, before moonrise for most of North America, Sirius shines brilliantly in the south-
southwest. To its lower left, by about a fist at arm's length, is the triangle of Adhara, Wezen, and Aludra
from right to left. They form Canis Major's hind foot, rear end, and tailtip, respectively.
Just upper left of Aludra, forming a 3rd- and 4th-magnitude arc 7° long, are the three uppermost stars of
the constellation Puppis. No it's not a puppy, despite following right behind the Big Dog. It's the Poop Deck
(stern) of the giant ancient constellation Argo Navis, the ship of Jason and the Argonauts. These three stars
are the only stars of Argo that are readily visible naked-eye from mid-northern latitudes.
Saturday, March 23
• Once the waning gibbous Moon well up in the southeast in very late evening, use binoculars to help pick
out Beta and Alpha Librae, both about 3rd magnitude, on the left and right of it, respectively. Alpha
(Zubenelgenubi) is a wide binocular double star: magnitudes 2.8 and 5.1, separation 4 arc minutes, with the
fainter star to the brighter one's celestial northwest.
Starry, Starry Night . . .
"I know nothing of any certainty, but the sight of the stars
makes me dream." -Vincent Van Gogh