Springtime stargazing

We explore what springtime space sights can be spotted as the days draw out and the stars appear later in the evening.

19th March 2017

With 20 March seeing the Spring Equinox, winter is officially behind us and good times and spring sun lie ahead.

Staying with a celestial theme, we explore what springtime space sights can be spotted as the days draw out and the stars appear later in the evening.

Catch an early morning glimpse of Venus

For the early risers amongst us there will be an opportunity to witness Venus (pictured above) lurking below a crescent moon.

About an hour before dawn on the 27 March the two will be in close proximity in the night sky and visible through a good pair of binoculars. This should provide some great photo opportunities, and perhaps a great chance for some digiscoping.

View Jupiter’s red spot

Jupiter is now past its best but March is a still a good month to observe this enormous planet. It should be viewed soon after nightfall when it will be at its highest point in the sky.

The Great Red Spot has recently become more prominent and can be easily seen as a large feature in the South Equatorial Belt.

It will be most visible on the 23 March, at 8.15pm, so make sure you’ve got a telescope handy.

Seeing Saturn in the late evening

At the start of March Saturn rises at around midnight, gradually getting over the horizon at times closer to 10.30pm as the month progresses.

Sadly it is currently lying at the lowest point of its ecliptic and so it might be difficult to see it in areas of light pollution, however where it is possible to see it should be possible to spot the Cassini Division between the wider inner and thinner outer rings.

Mars shining bright

As the month of March moves on, Mars becomes more and more visible as it approaches it peak in early April.

It will look brighter and larger in the sky as it moves towards opposition on 8 April and on a clear spring night, it should be possible to see the markings on it’s pinkish-red surface as well as a prominent northern polar cap.


Image: Getty

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