(WVNS) — Stormtracker59 Meteorologist Bradley Wells is back with another look at the upcoming celestial events that will delight our region all month long. With the month of March upon us, those of us in the two Virginia’s will be treated to a planetary party, the Worm Moon, and even a comet! Remember to bookmark this page so you and your family can enjoy all the March night sky has to offer.
The following events are marked as follows below for your convenience.
NAKED EYE EVENT: The event is visible without the aid of binoculars or telescopes in dark sky conditions.
TELESCOPE EVENT: The event is enhanced by the use or requires a hobby telescope or binoculars
LARGE TELESCOPE EVENT: A large (8-10 inch) professional telescope is required to view the event.
MARCH (ALL MONTH LONG) – PLANETARY PARTY CONTINUES: NAKED EYE EVENT – During February, Mars, Venus, and Saturn rose early in the pre-dawn skies. This continues for much of the month of March giving early risers a treat of three planets together. The trio will appear bright along the eastern horizon.
TELESCOPE EVENT: With only a few hours before sunrise, telescope users will have a brief time to view all three planets. The red hue of Mars, the beautiful rings of Saturn, and the swirling clouds of our sister planet Venus.
MARCH (ALL MONTH LONG) – BINOCULAR COMET: TELESCOPE EVENT – Comet Borrelly is a dim comet that will pass between the constellations of Perseus and Aries. While tough for a smaller 4 inch telescope, utilizing dark skies at the beginning and end of March will yield the best chance to see the comet. On its next pass in December 2028, the comet will be easier to spot.
MARCH 4th -NEW LUNAR CRATER: TELESCOPE EVENT: On this night, upper stage rocket debris will slam into the surface of the moon. While some believe this to be from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched in 2015 others say it was from a Chinese Chang’e-5 T1 launched in 2014. A fact the Chinese Government denies. Either way, on March 4th the lunar surface will forever be changed with a crater up to 65 feet wide. The impact is expected to eject large amounts of lunar dust upon impact.
MARCH 6th – MOON SLIVER : NAKED EYE EVENT Our only natural satellite reaches the Waxing Crescent phase creating just a sliver of a moon in our sky. The moon will be close to the western horizon. It will pass through the constellation Pisces giving star gazer a chance to see both.
LARGE TELESCOPE EVENT – Our crescent moon will be just 3 degrees northeast of the planet Uranus giving telescope users a guide post to finding one of our farthest planets.
MARCH 10th- HALF AS MUCH: NAKED EYE EVENT – First Quarter phase of our moon can be found this night. The First Quarter moon rises at noon and sets at midnight allow us to see the moon during the day and into sunset.
MARCH 18th – THINGS GET ‘WORMY’: NAKED EYE EVENT – The full moon in March occurs on this night. Widely known as the “Worm” Moon, it gets its name, reportedly, by the emergence of earthworms around this time as spring weather pushes farther north. Warmer days and nights around this time lead to more earthworms. Could explain why Robins who eat these worms are another sign of spring weather coming in.
Other names for the March Full Moon are Sugar Moon in honor of the Spring Maple Tree Harvests. Also the Goose Moon and Sore Eyes Moon by some Native American Tribes.
MARCH 20th – SPRING SPRUNG: NAKED EYE EVENT – The Vernal Equinox will be observed officially at 11:33 A.M. Our sun will rise directly due east and set directly due west on this day. Sunlight will split the earth in even amounts by hemisphere. It also marks the first official day of spring.
MARCH 22nd – ZODIACAL LIGHT: NAKED EYE EVENT – With our dimming moon and in areas away from light pollution, skywatchers will be treated to the zodiacal light. Light from our sun that is refracted by dust particles on our solar systems plane. From this night until April 5th, a hazy light will be found on our western horizon upwards.
MARCH 25th – HALF AGAIN NAKED EYE EVENT– The third quarter moon phase gives us a half moon this night. A 3rd quarter moon sits in front of Earth’s orbit around the sun. 3 hours later, the Earth takes up the same spot as the moon as we both orbit the sun. The moon will rise around midnight and set the later in morning.
MARCH 28th – PARTY CRASHER NAKED EYE EVENT– Venus, Mars, and Saturn have spent the month sharing the same part of the morning sky. On the morning of the 28th, our crescent moon joins the party sliding in-between the three planets. Jupiter and Mercury low on the horizon will also join the party making for a perfect shot for landscape photographers looking to add a little something extra to their sunrise photos.
MARCH 30th – SLIVERS AND STORMS NAKED EYE EVENT– Our sliver of a moon passes by Jupiter this morning. The pair will be located in the eastern sky just before sunrise. The hair thin moon will look to cup Jupiter for about 90 minutes before sunrise.
TELESCOPE EVENT: Telescope users will get a great view of mountain ranges along the light/dark (terminator) line of the moon with the power of the Great Red Spot of Jupiter not far away.