March 2013 is a time of change for skywatchers

March skygazing will delight, captivate and on clear nights deliver great views of constellations and planets. The Sun continues to rise earlier each morning and set later each evening (albeit there’s a stutter when the clocks ‘spring’ forward overnight on the 30th into the 31st for daylight saving).

The March equinox (also known as the vernal equinox) takes place in Glasgow at 11:02 on 20th March 2013. This is when the length of day and night is almost exactly equal. The moment of the March equinox occurs as the Sun crosses the celestial equator from the South into the North – the imaginary line extended into space form directly above the Earth’s equator.

Some things to try find in the night sky in March 2013

The planet Jupiter remains the brightest object in the moonless night sky at the moment, though by midnight it’ll be low to the western horizon beside Aldebaron, in the constellation of Taurus. To the east, Saturn is rising by before midnight  preceded by the bright star, Spica in the constellation of Virgo.

Using the ‘handle’ of the familiar astersim, ‘The Plough’ (or ‘Big Dipper’ as it’s often known) you can arc through the sky to the bright star Arcturus and continue the arc to find Spica.

Regulus, the ‘king star’ is almost due South at this time. It dots the ‘backwards question mark’ that forms the head and chest of the constelltion, Leo.

Above Glasgow, UK at midnight on the night of 11th March the night sky will look like the image below, though for most of the month a similar sky can be seen as the position of the stars doesn’t change that quickly from night to night.

The midnight sky on 11th March 2013 overhead from Glasgow, UK. Made using Stellarium. (Click to embiggen)

The midnight sky on 11th March 2013 overhead from Glasgow, UK. Made using Stellarium. (Click to embiggen)

Moon Phases

  • Last Quarter – 4th March 2013, 21:53
  • New Moon – 11th March 2013, 19:51
  • First Quarter – 19th March 2013, 17:27
  • Full Moon – 27th March 2013, 09:28

Times are listed in Universal Time (UT).

Sunrise and set from Glasgow, UK

  • 4th March 2013 – Sunrise 07:00 Sunset 17:58
  • 11th March 2013 – Sunrise 06:42 Sunset 18:13
  • 19th March 2013 – Sunrise 06:22 Sunset 18:29
  • 27th March 2013 – Sunrise 06:01 Sunset 18:45

Times are listed in Universal Time (UT).

Enjoy your skygazing this March!



About Derek Shirlaw

I'm passionate about science communication, social media, and my home country, Scotland. In particular, I have a real interest in astronomy, digital marketing, and the great outdoors.
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