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Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of March 2018

03/01/2018 04:49PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of March 2018
Welcome to the night sky report for March 2018 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase, so get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

As the brilliant stars of winter progress toward the west, the constellations of spring make their appearance.

Two March constellations derived from Greek mythology, Gemini and Cancer, lie in the zodiac. The zodiac is the name for the band of sky through which the Sun, Moon, and planets appear to travel.

The Gemini twins lie high overhead. They were among Jason's Argonauts, who sailed the seas searching for the Golden Fleece. The two bright stars are the heads of the brothers, Castor and Pollux.

A fuzzy patch lies near the feet of the Gemini twins. NGC 2168, or M35, is a pretty cluster of several hundred stars.

Cancer is often identified as a crab, but has also been seen as a lobster or crayfish. In Greek mythology, Cancer was placed in the heavens by Hera, wife of Zeus, to immortalize its tenacious but futile battle with Hercules. It is a much dimmer constellation than Gemini and hard to see in light-polluted skies.

Within Cancer lies the lovely Beehive Cluster. Ancient stargazers called it "the cloudy star." This large cluster contains hundreds of stars and lies about 577 light years away from us.

Before dawn, a string of planets highlight the eastern sky -- Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter. Jupiter and Saturn are the largest planets in our Solar System, while Mars is second only to Mercury as the smallest.

With a backyard telescope, the rings of Saturn and the bands of Jupiter are clearly visible, while Mars appears as a small, orange-red disk.






The night sky is always a celestial showcase. Explore its wonders from your own backyard.







The following Deep Sky Objects are found in constellations that peak during the month. Some can be viewed with a small telescope, but the majority will require a moderate to large telescope. The following is adapted from my personal viewing list: "The Guy Pirro 777 Best and Brightest Deep Sky Objects."



Constellation: Cancer

NGC 2632 Open Cluster M44 Beehive Cluster
NGC 2682 Open Cluster M67
NGC 2775 Galaxy C48, Herschel 400 H2-1



Constellation: Crater

NGC 3962 Galaxy Herschel 400 H67-1



Constellation: Gemini

IC 2157 Open Cluster P156
NGC 2129 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H26-8
NGC 2158 Globular Cluster Herschel 400 H17-6
NGC 2168 Open Cluster M35
NGC 2266 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H21-6
NGC 2304 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H2-6
NGC 2331 Open Cluster P157
NGC 2355 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H6-6
NGC 2371 Planetary Nebula Herschel 400 H316-2 (South) Paired with H317-2
NGC 2372 Planetary Nebula Herschel 400 H317-2 (North) Paired with H316-2
NGC 2392 Planetary Nebula C39, Herschel 400 H45-4 Eskimo Nebula
NGC 2395 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H11-8
NGC 2420 Open Cluster Herschel 400 H1-6



Constellation: Hydra

NGC 2548 Open Cluster M48, Herschel 400 H22-6
NGC 2784 Galaxy P87
NGC 2811 Galaxy Herschel 400 H505-2
NGC 3109 Galaxy P88
NGC 3242 Planetary Nebula C59, Herschel 400 H27-4 Ghost of Jupiter Nebula
NGC 3585 Galaxy P35
NGC 3621 Galaxy Herschel 400 H241-1
NGC 3923 Galaxy P89
NGC 4590 Globular Cluster M68
NGC 5236 Galaxy M83 Southern Pinwheel Galaxy
NGC 5694 Globular Cluster C66, Herschel 400 H196-2



Constellation: Leo

NGC 2903 Galaxy Herschel 400 H56-1
NGC 2964 Galaxy Herschel 400 H114-1
- NGC 2968 Galaxy Paired with H114-1
NGC 3190 Galaxy Herschel 400 H44-2
- NGC 3187 Galaxy Paired with H44-2
NGC 3193 Galaxy Herschel 400 H45-2
NGC 3226 Galaxy Herschel 400 H28-2 Paired with H29-2
NGC 3227 Galaxy Herschel 400 H29-2 Paired with H28-2
NGC 3351 Galaxy M95
NGC 3368 Galaxy M96
NGC 3377 Galaxy Herschel 400 H99-2
NGC 3379 Galaxy M105, Herschel 400 H17-1
NGC 3384 Galaxy Herschel 400 H18-1
NGC 3412 Galaxy Herschel 400 H27-1
NGC 3489 Galaxy Herschel 400 H101-2
NGC 3521 Galaxy Herschel 400 H13-1
NGC 3593 Galaxy Herschel 400 H29-1
NGC 3607 Galaxy Herschel 400 H50-2 Paired with H51-2
NGC 3608 Galaxy Herschel 400 H51-2 Paired with H50-2
NGC 3623 Galaxy M65
NGC 3626 Galaxy C40, Herschel 400 H52-2
NGC 3627 Galaxy M66
NGC 3628 Galaxy Herschel 400 H8-5
NGC 3640 Galaxy Herschel 400 H33-2
- NGC 3641 Galaxy Paired with H33-2
NGC 3655 Galaxy Herschel 400 H5-1
NGC 3686 Galaxy Herschel 400 H160-2
NGC 3810 Galaxy Herschel 400 H21-1
NGC 3900 Galaxy Herschel 400 H82-1
NGC 3912 Galaxy Herschel 400 H342-2



Constellation: Leo Minor

NGC 2859 Galaxy Herschel 400 H137-1
NGC 3245 Galaxy Herschel 400 H86-1
NGC 3277 Galaxy Herschel 400 H359-2
NGC 3294 Galaxy Herschel 400 H164-1
NGC 3344 Galaxy Herschel 400 H81-1
NGC 3395 Galaxy Herschel 400 H116-1
- NGC 3396 Galaxy Interacting with H116-1
NGC 3414 Galaxy Herschel 400 H362-2
NGC 3432 Galaxy Herschel 400 H172-1
NGC 3486 Galaxy Herschel 400 H87-1
NGC 3504 Galaxy Herschel 400 H88-1
- NGC 3512 Galaxy Paired with H88-1



Constellation: Sextans

NGC 2974 Galaxy Herschel 400 H61-1
NGC 3115 Galaxy C53, Herschel 400 H163-1 Spindle Galaxy
NGC 3166 Galaxy Herschel 400 H3-1 Paired with H4-1
NGC 3169 Galaxy Herschel 400 H4-1 Paired with H3-1



Constellation: Ursa Major

Messier 40 Double Star M40 Winnecke 4
IC 2574 Galaxy P121 Coddington's Dwarf Galaxy
NGC 2681 Galaxy Herschel 400 H242-1
NGC 2742 Galaxy Herschel 400 H249-1
NGC 2768 Galaxy Herschel 400 H250-1
NGC 2787 Galaxy Herschel 400 H216-1
NGC 2841 Galaxy Herschel 400 H205-1
NGC 2950 Galaxy Herschel 400 H68-4
NGC 2976 Galaxy Herschel 400 H285-1
NGC 2985 Galaxy Herschel 400 H78-1
- NGC 3027 Galaxy Paired with H78-1
NGC 3031 Galaxy M81 Bode's Galaxy
NGC 3034 Galaxy M82, Herschel 400 H79-4 Cigar Galaxy
NGC 3077 Galaxy Herschel 400 H286-1
NGC 3079 Galaxy Herschel 400 H47-5
NGC 3184 Galaxy Herschel 400 H168-1
NGC 3198 Galaxy Herschel 400 H199-1
NGC 3310 Galaxy Herschel 400 H60-4
NGC 3556 Galaxy M108 Herschel 400 H46-5
NGC 3359 Galaxy P202
NGC 3587 Planetary Nebula M97 Owl Nebula
NGC 3610 Galaxy Herschel 400 H270-1
NGC 3613 Galaxy Herschel 400 H271-1 Paired with H244-1
NGC 3619 Galaxy Herschel 400 H244-1 Paired with H271-1
NGC 3631 Galaxy Herschel 400 H226-1
NGC 3665 Galaxy Herschel 400 H219-1
- NGC 3658 Galaxy Paired with H219-1
NGC 3675 Galaxy Herschel 400 H194-1
NGC 3726 Galaxy Herschel 400 H730-2
NGC 3729 Galaxy Herschel 400 H222-1
- NGC 3718 Galaxy Paired with H222-1
NGC 3813 Galaxy Herschel 400 H94-1
NGC 3877 Galaxy Herschel 400 H201-1
NGC 3893 Galaxy Herschel 400 H738-2
- NGC 3896 Galaxy Paired with H738-2
NGC 3898 Galaxy Herschel 400 H228-1
NGC 3938 Galaxy Herschel 400 H203-1
NGC 3941 Galaxy Herschel 400 H173-1
NGC 3945 Galaxy Herschel 400 H251-1
NGC 3949 Galaxy Herschel 400 H202-1
NGC 3953 Galaxy Herschel 400 H45-5
NGC 3982 Galaxy Herschel 400 H62-4
NGC 3992 Galaxy M109, Herschel 400 H61-4
NGC 3998 Galaxy Herschel 400 H229-1
- NGC 3990 Galaxy Paired with H229-1
NGC 4026 Galaxy Herschel 400 H223-1
NGC 4036 Galaxy Herschel 400 H253-1 Paired with H252-1
NGC 4041 Galaxy Herschel 400 H252-1 Paired with H253-1
NGC 4051 Galaxy Herschel 400 H56-4
NGC 4085 Galaxy Herschel 400 H224-1 Paired with H206-1
NGC 4088 Galaxy Herschel 400 H206-1 Paired with H224-1
NGC 4102 Galaxy Herschel 400 H225-1
NGC 4605 Galaxy P252
NGC 5322 Galaxy Herschel 400 H256-1
NGC 5457 Galaxy M101 Pinwheel Galaxy
NGC 5474 Galaxy Herschel 400 H214-1 Paired with M101
NGC 5473 Galaxy Herschel 400 H231-1
NGC 5631 Galaxy Herschel 400 H236-1



For more information:

http://hubblesite.org/videos/tonights_sky

https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/planner.cfm

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTiv_XWHnOZrT_ppDGiT__fI3yjD4t7dI

https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/skyreport

https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/skyreport/whats-new

http://outreach.as.utexas.edu/public/skywatch.html

https://stardate.org/nightsky

http://griffithobservatory.org/sky/skyreport.html

http://www.beckstromobservatory.com/whats-up-in-tonights-sky-2/

http://www2.parkland.edu/planetarium/sky.html

http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/astronomy/nightsky/

http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/physicsoutreach/engagement/the-sky-tonight/

http://www.schoolsobservatory.org.uk/learn/astro/nightsky/maps

http://www.caribbeanastronomy.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=30&Itemid=51

https://www.stardome.org.nz/astronomy/star-charts/






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