Night Sky Observing Guide: March 2013 (Sky Maps)

Last Quarter Moon, March 4, 2013

Mon., March 4, 4:53 p.m. EST. The last or third quarter moon rises around 12:30 a.m. and sets around 10:30 a.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

New Moon, March 11, 2013

Mon., March 11, 3:51 p.m. EDT. The moon is not visible on the date of new moon because it is too close to the sun, but can be seen low in the east as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the west an evening or two after new moon.

First Quarter Moon, March 19, 2013

Tue., March 19, 1:27 p.m. EDT. The first quarter moon rises around 11 a.m. and sets around 1:30 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Full Moon, March 27, 2013

Tue., March 27, 5:27 a.m. EDT. The full moon of March is called the Storm Moon. Its Cree name is Migisupizum, meaning “eagle moon.” Other names are Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Sugar Moon, Sap Moon, Chaste Moon, Death Moon, Worm Moon and Lenten Moon. In Hindi it is known as Basanta Purnima or Dol Purnima. Its Sinhala (Buddhist) name is Medin. The full moon rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, the only night in the month when the moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Spica North of the Moon, March 1, 2013

Fri., March 1, late evening. The moon will be close to the bright star Spica. Observers in the central Pacific Ocean and Central America will see the moon occult Spica. Look for Saturn rising below and to the left of the moon and Spica.

Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) Enters Northern Sky

Thu., March 7, just after sunset. Look for this comet just after sunset, above and to the left of the sun, tonight and for the next couple of weeks.

March 2013 Path of Comet C/2011 L4 (Pan-STARRS)

The path of Comet C/2011 L4 (Pan-STARRS) over the next month.

Comet Pan-STARRS Night Sky Path: 2013

Science@NASA

This graphic depicts the path of comet Pan-STARRS across the night sky from March to May in 2013.

Jupiter and the Moon, March 17, 2013

Sun., March 17, early evening. Another close conjunction between Jupiter and the Moon, close to Aldebaran and the Hyades. Say farewell to the Pleiades and the Orion Nebula, now sinking fast in the west.

Vernal Equinox, March 20, 2013

Wed., March 20, 7:02 a.m. EDT. The Sun crosses the celestial equator heading north, marking the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Notice the close gathering of the planets Uranus, Mars and Venus close to the Sun: all are on the far side of the Sun relative to Earth.

Spica and the Moon Again, March 27, 2013.

Wed., March 27, early evening. For the second time this month, the moon passes close to Spica. This time the moon will occult Spica for observers in southeast Asia, northern Australia, and the many islands to the west, north and east.

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.