Star Calendar – March, 2015

Star Calendar

March 2015

Star Calendar Planets:

Moon casts a perigee-large shadow on the earth, a total solar eclipse, just as the spring Sun rises at the north pole – after a 6-month night. Technically it is a near-miss – but the fact of atmospheric refraction makes the apparent, observable sun rise earlier than it would in a vacuum. It is during this smeared image of the Sun that a “green flash” can occur – it would be interesting to look for this phenomenon with the altered, diminished and very slowly rising Sun near totality. Will anyone trek to the polar regions for this? The path of total eclipse first traverses the mid-Atlantic on a northward track that crosses the Faeroes and Svalbard before terminating at the North Pole. A large region of partial eclipse will cross much of the Atlantic, Greenland, North Africa, Europe and Siberia. The eclipse will end at both sunrise and sunset for areas either side of the pole!

Mercury is too low in the morning to see. A tall, standing crescent Moon will rise (probably not visible either) to his left on the 19th at 6:30AM

Venus pulls away from Mars and slowly ascends with each evening appearance. A young crescent Moon will sit beside her on the evening of the 22nd.

Sun still malingers weak in spots as February closed. There remain indications of a future prolonged period of low sunspot activity – that is, there is a paucity of the usual indicator of future sunspots in polar gestation. Oh yes, and it’s SPRING! I expect our botanical spring to be rapid since the ground is already thawed out under the thick snow.

Mars is slowly losing ground to the overtaking Sun in the evening. He hosts a beautiful Grail Moon (the young, cup-like crescent that appears before Easter) on the 21st.

Jupiter is now recovering in “post-op(position)”. He remains the compliment to Venus in the evenings, holding forth in the east while she dominates the west. The Moon appears nearby twice this month, on the nights of the 2nd/3rd and the 29th/30th.

Saturn is so astonished at the calendar, when it happens to read like 5 digits of Pi (in MM/DD/YY format), that he stands still (stationary to stars) on the 14th, and begins to move backward (retrograde). Saturn rises awkwardly late these days, around midnight, and has a dawdling culmination in morning twilight, low in the deep-winter region of Scorpio.

Star Calendar Days:

1      Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 6:31/17:47 EST (11h16m daylight)

2-3     Moon near Jupiter all evening

5      Full Sap Moon 1:05 PM

7-8     Daylight Shifted Time begins for U.S.

9      Moon rises with Spica at 10:PM (EDT) in ESE

12      Moon culminates (south) with Saturn at 6:AM, red Antares below the pair

14      Saturn stationary, to retrograde motion

          3/14/15, for math dwerbs: Ö(-1)’ll x/2 Σ c/d 2^2 “Π-Day”

19      Moon stands obscurely beside Mercury at 6:30AM in the bright east

          Moon nearest Earth, (perigee)

20      Sun rises at north pole in total eclipse!

          Equinox at 6:45 EDT, Sun crosses to north of celestial equator

21      Moon nearly cradles beside Mars at 8:PM in west; “Grail Moon”

22      Moon beside Venus for the evening

24      Moon crosses face of Taurus all evening.

29      Summer Time begins in Europe

29-30 Moon near Jupiter all evening

31      Sunrise/sunset in Spring Valley at 6:41/19:20 EDT (12h39m daylight)

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About pbdavis

Paul Davis is a former resident of the Threefold Community. He has been a teacher of Celestial Navigation, a Planetarium lecturer, and offered evening Astronomy classes at Sunbridge some years ago. He is now living in New Hampshire.