Whats Up for March? Venus climbs high while Jupiter dives sunward, and the little planet that shares its name with your breakfast cereal.
Venus and Jupiter start the month very close together in the night sky, following their close combination on March 1st. The giant planet appears lower in the sky each night through the month, making its exit as a night item.
Jupiter appears lower in the sky each night through the month of March 2023, making its exit as an evening item. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
On the 23rd and 24th, in the couple of hours after sunset, youll find the Moon as a perfectly slim crescent hanging just below, and the next night above, blazing intense Venus. On the 25th, the Moon continues upward in the sky, landing right next to the fantastic Pleiades star cluster that night.
With March bringing the arrival of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and fall in the Southern Hemisphere, its a time for both planting or collecting crops, depending on where you live. Its perhaps a fitting time to try and find the planet named for a mythical goddess of farming, grains, and fertile lands. (In addition to being the origin of the word “cereal.”).
Thats dwarf world Ceres. This month its at opposition, implying its directly on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. This is when a world is around its fastest distance from Earth, making this the best time to attempt observing it when its at its brightest.
The dwarf world Ceres is the largest things in the main asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter, its still far smaller sized than our own Moon. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Ceres is the largest item in the main asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter. NASAs Dawn spacecraft found that Ceres could be up to one-quarter water ice on the within.
Now, Ceres is too faint to see with the unaided eye, so to find it in the March sky, youll need field glasses or a small telescope. Discover the lion constellation Leo in the southeast after around 9 pm. The brilliant, bluish-white star Regulus (the lions heart) need to capture your eye initially. Look eastward about 25 degrees to find Denebola, which represents the lions tail. From there Ceres needs to be 8 or 9 degrees further east from Denebola. It looks like a faint, star-like point of light– which is why, when Ceres and things like it were first found in the early 19th century, they were called “asteroids,” which suggests “starlike.”.
Ceres position in the sky during March 2023. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Since 2006, Ceres has actually been classified as a dwarf planet– along with other diminutive worlds in our planetary system consisting of Pluto, Eris, Haumea, and Makemake. Wherever you land on the subject of “planet vs. dwarf world” -status for worlds like Ceres and Pluto, whats truly important to keep in mind is that the way we think of different families of items in our planetary system has actually developed with time, and likely will continue to develop as we explore and discover more about them. So heres hoping you try your hand at finding Ceres as you check out the skies above your home world this month.
Here are the phases of the Moon for March.
The stages of the Moon for March 2023. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Stay up to date with all of NASAs objectives to explore the solar system and beyond at nasa.gov. Im Preston Dyches from NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory, whichs Whats Up for this month.
Image of the dwarf planet Ceres based on observations by NASAs Dawn Spacecraft. And those with binoculars or a small telescope can look for out dwarf world Ceres, which is at its brightest this month.
Ceres, the biggest item in the asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter, is the sole dwarf world located in the inner solar system. Giuseppe Piazzi first identified it in 1801, making it the first asteroid belt member to be discovered. In 2015, NASAs Dawn spacecraft checked out Ceres, making it the very first dwarf world to be checked out by a spacecraft.
Considered an asteroid for numerous years, Ceres is substantially more massive and distinct from its surrounding rocky bodies. As a result, researchers designated it a dwarf world in 2006. Despite the fact that it represents 25% of the asteroid belts total mass, it is overshadowed by Pluto, which is 14 times more huge.
The Roman goddess of corn and harvests, Ceres, provides her name to this heavenly body. The word cereal is originated from the same root.
Dwarf world Ceres is displayed in these false-color makings, which highlight differences in surface materials. Credit: NASA/JPL
Ceres, the biggest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, is the sole dwarf planet situated in the inner solar system. In 2015, NASAs Dawn spacecraft went to Ceres, making it the very first dwarf world to be gone to by a spacecraft.
Wherever you land on the topic of “world vs. dwarf planet” -status for worlds like Ceres and Pluto, whats really essential to remember is that the method we think about various households of objects in our solar system has actually progressed over time, and likely will continue to develop as we explore and learn more about them.
Venus and Jupiter part ways following their March 1 rendezvous, while Ceres reaches opposition, and is worth searching for utilizing binoculars.
All month– Jupiter and Venus show up in the west after sundown. The 2 planets began the month extremely close together on March 1, but grow further apart each night throughout the month.
All month– Dwarf world Ceres is at opposition in March, which means its visible throughout the night and is at its brightest for the year. Discover it utilizing field glasses or a small telescope, with constellation Leo as your guide.
March 7– Full moon
March 21– New moon
March 23– Look westward to discover the Moon as a wonderfully slim crescent this evening after sundown, hanging just below blazing intense Venus.
March 24– Following sunset, find the Moon in the west as a magnificently slim crescent hovering just above fantastic Venus.
March 25– The crescent Moon sits next to the fantastic Pleiades star cluster tonight
Image of the dwarf planet Ceres based on observations by NASAs Dawn Spacecraft. This month dwarf world Ceres is at its brightest, which indicates you can seek it out with binoculars or a little telescope. Credit: NASA
Following their close technique in the sky on March 1, Venus and Jupiter go their different ways. And those with field glasses or a little telescope can look for out dwarf planet Ceres, which is at its brightest this month.