Weekly stargazing tips 3.15.05

Deep cracks and grooves slice into the icy crust of Enceladus,

March 15 Spring Triangle
Three bright stars form a tall triangle in the east beginning
around 7pm The most prominent star is yellow-orange Arcturus, the
third-brightest star in the night sky. Well to the right of
Arcturus is Spica, with Regulus well above and to the right of
Spica.
March 15 Spring Triangle

Three bright stars form a tall triangle in the east beginning around 7pm The most prominent star is yellow-orange Arcturus, the third-brightest star in the night sky. Well to the right of Arcturus is Spica, with Regulus well above and to the right of Spica.

March 16 Zodiacal light

During moonless March evenings, a ghostly pyramid of light rises from the western horizon after darkness falls. Called zodiacal light, this pale glow is caused by sunlight reflecting off of microscopic dust grains in the plane of Earth’s orbit.

March 17 Virgo

Virgo, the constellation most identified with spring, is entering prime evening viewing time. Most of its stars are relatively faint. But Virgo’s brightest star, blue-white Spica, is easy to pick out. It rises in the east in mid-evening.

March 18 Pointing at Leo

Regulus, the “heart” of Leo, the lion, is climbing higher into the evening sky. One way to find it is to line up the two stars that form the inner edge of the Big Dipper’s bowl, then follow that line from right to left. The first bright star the line intersects is Regulus.

March 19 Milky

Way Clouds

The stars of the Milky Way intertwine with clouds of gas and dust that can span many light-years. Some of them are bright and colorful; others, dark and quiet. The dark clouds are giving birth to new stars. They are dark because their gas is cold.

March 20 Spring Equinox

Spring arrives in the northern hemisphere today. The Sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north at 10:49pm. The season will last more than 13 weeks — until the summer solstice in June.

March 21 Serpens

The divided halves of a snake are moving into the evening sky this month. Known as Serpens, the serpent, they rise beginning in late evening. The constellation is split because the snake wraps around the intervening stars of Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer.

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