Dark Skies March Update
The attached map shows the Night Sky as seen in Mid March at around 20.00hrs. By looking Southwards and holding the chart with S at the bottom, the centre of the map will show the stars overhead with the Northern sky behind you. Using the map earlier than 20.00 will mean the star patterns - Constellations, to use the correct term - will be shifted slightly to the East , while using later in the evening, the constellations will have moved more to the West.
Planetary wise, Venus and Jupiter still dominate the evening sky, and will continue to do so for several months to come. Take a look in the Western sky around the 21st and 22nd of the month, when a thin crescent Moon will be close to Mars and then Venus the next day (22nd). There are no major meteor showers during March, but the main highlight of the month will no doubt be the Solar Eclipse on the 20th.
Starting at around 08.25 in the morning, with the Sun just 19 degrees above the ESE horizon, the Moon will slowly pass in front of the Solar disc until at 09.26 (Mid Eclipse), a massive 90% of the Sun will be obscured. The Moon will continue it’s journey, eventually “leaving” the Solar disc at 10.37.
Please remember though- NEVER, look at the solar disc, even when it’s 90% covered, through ANY optical equipment without special solar filters. Permanent eye damage/blindness will occur. If you’d like to safely observe the event, you’re welcome to join the Elan “Astro” Rangers who will be setting up an observing station for the event, clear skies permitting.