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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...

The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal
astro-experiences to look forward to.

Wed. March 1 – The thin crescent Moon will provide an opportunity to spy the ice giant Uranus early this evening. The Moon will be less than the width of your three middle fingers south of the greenish planet. Also in the near vicinity will be ruddy Mars which is exiting stage west.

Thurs. March 2 – Here is an interesting observing opportunity. The thin crescent Moon will be one and a half of its width south of the dwarf planet Ceres. It will be about 9th magnitude requiring a telescope, and its daily location can be checked out here: https://theskylive.com/ceres-tracker

Sat. March 4 – The Moon will pass very close to bright Aldebaran this evening, and in the south Okanagan it will offer an opportunity to observe a graze where the star skims along the rim of the Moon and blinks in and out between mountains. Alan Whitman feels that this graze “is the most significant astronomical event to occur in B.C. in all my years of observing. I would be hugely disappointed if Vernon and Kelowna members did not think it worthwhile to drive to Osoyoos for this graze early on a Saturday evening for what will probably be a once in a lifetime experience for most of them, a chance to resolve the disk of a giant star.”   
  More information on the graze and a detailed map of the Osoyoos area with the line of prime opportunity can be found in our Zenfolio site in the Breaking News and Current Interest folder here: http://rascoc.zenfolio.com/p814122742†

Sun. March 5 – This is First Quarter Moon night with the distinctive half lit sphere poised high in the early spring evening sky.

Fri. March 10 – The waxing gibbous Moon will pass just south of bright Regulus in Leo which is taking its place as a main star of the spring season.

Sat. March 11 - A reminder that Daylight Saving Time begins tomorrow so clocks, watches and microwave ovens should be 'sprung ahead' one hour before you retire for the night.

Sun. March 12 – This is Full Moon night. Our fully lit companion will be looking down on early signs of the Okanagan spring.

Tues. March 14 – The Moon will slide past bright Jupiter tonight. A reminder that the gas giant is entering prime territory to observe detail in its cloud structure as well as the games of tag played by the Galilean moons.

Wed. March 15 - A reminder that a window to observe the Zodiacal light will be around for the next two weeks. Under dark sky conditions, look for an arch of faint, hazy light stretching up from the western horizon. You will be looking at light being scattered by the leftover dust in the Sun's equatorial plane.

Fri. March 17 – The two inner planets will pose close together in the evening twilight tonight. Look low in the west for the two neighbours separated by about the width of your fist at arm’s length.

Mon. March 20   - This is a big day since it marks the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere. The actual moment of the vernal equinox will occur at 3.29am. In the sky the Moon will pass just north of Saturn. It is also Last Quarter Moon night as our neighbour moves further out of the night sky heralding the approach of the monthly dark sky period for sketching, observing and imaging.

Sat. Sun. March 25, 26 – This is the 2017 primary window for Messier Marathon events. Another weekend opportunity will be on April 1,2 but it will more of a challenge to collect evening objects M74 and M77.

Sun. March 26 – The narrowing crescent Moon will skim below Neptune in the pre-dawn sky this morning.

Mon. March 27 – This is New Moon night with our space companion completely out of the way for dark sky adventures.

Wed. March 29 – This month we have another interesting grouping of celestial objects, this time featuring Mercury and Mars together with a thin lunar crescent. Look low in the west where the two planets will form a triangle with the fingernail pairing Moon. This will be a great opportunity to view Mercury when it is about as high in the evening sky as it can get.