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Doorstep Astronomy for March 2015

What is there to see in the March skies, from Indian latitudes and longitudes? The following dates maybe of interest to beginner skywatchers as well as for seasoned amateur astronomers familiar with the skies: (If some of the events need a telescope to observe the same check with your local planetarium/amateur astronomer association/science center whether a skywatch is being organised somewhere where you could observe the event)

  • March 4th : A very close conjunction of the bright naked planet Venus with the much fainter Uranus which can only be seen with a moderate telescope. The actual time of the close conjunction of just 5.3 arc seconds of separation happens just past midnight when the two would have already set. However, we should still see them very close, within the telescopic field of view in the evening skies. Beginning at 10:41 PM and ending at 10:47 PM on this evening, there is an annular occultation of Io by Europa, an interesting Jovian moons mutual event.
  • March 12th : Lunar Occultation of a 5th magnitude star in Ophiucus, see here for timings for many Indian cities
  • March 16th ; Those who missed viewing the Comet Lovejoy last month could try and locate it very close to the star Ruchbah in Cassiopea on the 16th. Shown here is a widefield naked eye view of the constellation Cassiopea with the location of the comet marked (though the comet will certainly not be visible to the naked eyes, it will need a moderate aperture telescope). Stars shown here are brighter than magnitude 6.

Shown in the image below is a narrower field of view centered on the comet showing two of the brighter stars of Cassiopea. Stars upto magnitude 9 are included in this image, for help with locating the comet.

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Page last modified on March 11, 2015, at 04:51 AM EST