Sky at a Glance Feb 24 – March 3

Photo showing the constellation Leo and others in the early Spring sky.

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, Feb 24 – March 3 ~by Curt Nason

We are all familiar with the weather-related saying that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. This has a connection with the constellations, most likely by coincidence. As evening begins in early March, Leo the Lion is rising above the eastern horizon. I’d be blowing hot air if I claimed the roaring winds of early March were due to Leo announcing his presence.

Is there a lamb in the sky? Aries the Ram fits the bill, having been a lamb in his early days. As darkness settles in at the end of March, Aries is going out of the sky just above the western horizon. I’d be pulling the wool over your eyes if I claimed that was responsible for any calm weather we experience at that time. Beware the I’ds of March.

This Week in the Solar System

Saturday’s sunrise in Moncton is at 7:07 am and sunset will occur at 5:58 pm, giving 10 hours, 51 minutes of daylight (7:10 am and 6:04 pm in Saint John). Next Saturday the Sun will rise at 6:54 am and set at 6:08 pm, giving 11 hours, 14 minutes of daylight (6:58 am and 6:14 pm in Saint John).

The Moon is full on Thursday, the Mi’kmaq Snow Blinding Moon. Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are three good reasons to take a telescope outside an hour before sunrise. This summer they will be at their best for evening observing. By midweek Mercury sets in the west 45 minutes after sunset and 15 minutes before Venus. The next few weeks will be the best time to see Mercury for the year, as the steep angle of the ecliptic on March evenings places it higher in the sky than usual.

On Friday, February 23, Astronomy Moncton will hold a telescope clinic at Moncton High School beginning at 4 pm, followed by guides to observing the sky in the evening. See their website or Facebook page for details. The Saint John Astronomy Club meets on Saturday, March 3 at 7 pm in the Rockwood Park Interpretation Centre. All are welcome.

Questions? Contact Curt Nason.

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