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



The following tips on exciting 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. 


Sun. March 1  -  A reminder that the Zodiacal light continues to be its most available to early evening observers for most of March. 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.

Mon. March 2 - Jupiter will be visited tonight by the almost full Moon, providing an attractive bright tableau in the night sky.

Wed. March 4 - For those who would like to add Uranus to their observing log, bright Venus will provide a roadmap to its location tonight. Look less than a Moon's width below the beacon to identify the distant greenish planet.

Thurs. March 5 - This is Full Moon night when the brilliant fully illuminated sphere will climb over the eastern mountains at dusk to check out the advance of spring in the Okanagan. Never mind that the Moon is at aphelion and farthest away from Earth, it will still look large next to the horizon.

Sat. March  7 - 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.

Mon. March 9 - Tonight the stellar components of 'the demon star' Algol will align to produce a two hour period of minimum brightness between 11.13pm and 1.13am. By checking it out earlier in the evening and comparing the star's brightness to neighbouring stars in Perseus, the dip in brightness will be more evident.

Tues. March 10 - For those who missed the Venus - Uranus connection on the 4th, tonight Mars will take its turn as tour director, though this will be a tougher challenge due to their location low in the west after sunset. Look for the greenish planet about the width of the Moon below its ruddy companion.

Thurs. March 12 - Early risers will see the almost last quarter Moon only about the width of two fingers from Saturn in the early morning hours.

Fri. March 13 - This is last quarter Moon night with our half-lit companion rising around midnight and remaining high in the sky the following morning. Dark sky observing is just around the corner!

Fri. March 20   - This is a big day since it marks the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere. Watch for news of a Spring Equinox observance at Pen Henge in Penticton. The actual time of the equinox is 3.45pm PDT.

Fri. March 20 - Meanwhile, several OCRASC members will be experiencing a total solar eclipse northeast of Scotland in the general area between the Faroe Islands and Svalbard Island around 3am our time.

Sat. March 21 - The thin crescent Moon will be a fingerpost to ruddy Mars which is sinking in the evening sky. The Mars and Moon pair, separated by about the width of two fingers, will be placed below brilliant Venus in the evening dusk.

Sun. March 22 - Tonight the waxing crescent Moon will pay a close visit to Venus in the evening sky… beautiful to enjoy with naked eye or binoculars, and an invitation for a great photograph.

Tues. March 24 - Tonight the Moon will pass through the bright open Hyades cluster in Taurus. In this passage the young crescent Moon will complement rather than wash out its stellar neighbours. It should be a beautiful sight in binoculars, and telescope viewers may see the odd star gobbled up by the Moon's dark cusp.

Fri. March 27 - This is First Quarter Moon night with our waxing companion ornamenting the growing signs and smells of spring on an Okanagan evening.

Sun. March 29 - Algol will close out the month with another minimum performance. This time the two hour dip in brightness will occur from 12.58 to 2.58am giving an opportunity to compare its brightness in the early evening with its gradual 'blink' later on.