This Week’s Sky at a Glance, 2021 March 20 – 27 ~by Curt Nason
Around 1930 the International Astronomical Union finalized the official constellations and their boundaries to cover the entire sky. Oddly, 22 of those 88 constellations begin with the letter “C.” Around 9 pm we can see 11 of those and parts of three others, so rather than deep sea fishing let’s go high C hunting. Starting in the west we might catch the head of Cetus the Whale before it sets, and toward the south Columba the Dove hugs the horizon below Lepus and Orion. Meanwhile, Cygnus the Swan flaps a wing above the northern horizon as it never sets completely for us.
Higher in the north the house of Cepheus the King is upright for a change. To his west we see the W-shape of his wife, Cassiopeia the Queen, and above them we might have to strain to see Camelopardalis the Giraffe. Looking southwest, to the left of Orion are his faithful big and little dogs Canis Major and Canis Minor. Barely visible above the little dog is Cancer the Crab, nestled nicely between Gemini and Leo. In the southeast we have Corvus the Crow and Crater the Cup, both of which piggyback on the Hydra. Tailing Leo high in the east is Coma Berenices, the locks of distressed Queen Berenice II of Egypt, and dogging Ursa Major is Canes Venatici the Hunting Dogs. Finally, lower in the east, we see the Northern Crown, Corona Borealis.
This episode of Sky at a Glance was brought to you by the letter C and the number 14. As you find each C constellation, count out loud like the Count (One! That’s one C constellation, ah ha ha!), and for each one you find you can reward yourself with … COOKIE!
This Week in the Solar System
Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 7:21 am and sunset will occur at 7:32 pm, giving 12 hours, 10 minutes of daylight (7:26 am and 7:37 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday, the Sun will rise at 7:08 am and set at 7:41 pm, giving 12 hours, 33 minutes of daylight (7:13 am and 7:46 pm in Saint John).
The Moon is at first quarter this Sunday, and look for the Lunar X with a scope this Saturday after sunset. It will be within the shadow just below centre, and it is caused by sunlight catching the upper rims of three adjacent craters. On Monday Mars is 7 degrees, a wide binocular view, from similarly coloured Aldebaran. Mercury, moving sunward, is a difficult binocular target in morning twilight, while Jupiter and Saturn are becoming more prominent. Venus is at superior conjunction on Friday, and by late April it will be making its presence known in the evening sky.
With astronomy meetings and outreach activities on hold, you can watch the local Sunday Night Astronomy Show at 8 pm and view archived shows.
Questions? Contact Curt Nason.