March 2014 could be the month you start stargazing – what a month to begin! Equally, you might already be a regular head-tilter, casting your gaze upwards and out beyond our own planet’s atmosphere. Whatever category you fall into – look up to the sky often and it’ll keep you happy, if not as mad as a March hare!
The Night Sky
This image below shows what the night sky looks like on 16th March 2014 at midnight from Glasgow, UK. The sky will look similar at the same time through the month – the only significant change being that of the Moon’s position (you can click on the image to make it bigger).
The full Moon is on the evening of 16th March. Of course, all the light reflected by the Moon makes the other night sky objects more difficult to see, but not impossible.
The giant planet, Jupiter dominates the night sky – even from the City. Look out for it as a steady point of light beside the scintillating stars Castor and Pollux (of Gemini). Mars is also marching into the night sky, rising alongside the spring star, Spica. Spica is the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo. And as a bonus for planet spotters, the ringed giant, Saturn is also just popping up on the eastern horizon around midnight.
Try finding ‘The Plough’ in order to work out what direction you’re facing. Find the seven stars that form this familiar asterism and use the last two stars to lead your eye through the sky to the North Star, Polaris.
The March (Vernal) Equinox is on Thursday, 20th March, 2014 at 16:57 in Glasgow. With the Sun shining directly on the equator, the length of day and night are (nearly) equal.
Getting into astronomy? Check out these fantastic books about astronomy which are accessible for all levels and highly recommended.
Sunrise and Sunset times, Glasgow
1st March 2014 – Sunrise 07:09 Sunset 17:51
8th March 2014 – Sunrise 06:51 Sunset 18:06
16th March 2014 – Sunrise 06:30 Sunset 18:22
24th March 2014 – Sunrise 06:09 Sunset 18:39
- 30th March 2014 – Sunrise 06:53 Sunset 19:51
Time to spring forward! The clocks go forward by an hour at 01:00 on Sunday 30th March 2014 in the UK for Daylight Saving Time. All the times listed above are local to Glasgow.
New Moon – 1st March 2014, 08:00
First Quarter – 8th March 2014, 13:27
Full Moon – 16th March 2014, 17:09
Last Quarter – 24th March 2014, 01:46
New Moon – 30th March 2014, 19:45
Times listed above are local to Glasgow.
Love your skygazing in March 2014!