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Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of March 2020

Posted by Guy Pirro   03/04/2020 12:08AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of March 2020

This beautiful Hubble image captures hundreds of thousands of individual stars, thousands of star clusters, and hundreds of supernova remnants in the spiral galaxy M83. Also known as the Southern Pinwheel, this galaxy is located 15 million light years away from Earth in the constellation Hydra. It was discovered in 1752 by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. With an apparent magnitude of 7.5, M83 is one of the brightest spiral galaxies in the night sky. It can be observed using a pair of binoculars. Hubble’s image reveals interstellar “bubbles” produced by nearly 300 supernovas. By studying these supernova remnants, astronomers can better understand the nature of the stars that exploded and dispersed their nuclear processed chemical elements back into the galaxy, contributing to the next generation of new stars. [Video Credits: NASA, JPL – Caltech, and the Office of Public Outreach – STScI] [Image Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), W. Blair (STScI/Johns Hopkins University), and R. O’Connell (University of Virginia)]

 


 

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of March 2020

Welcome to the night sky report for March 2020 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. In March, the stars of spring lie eastward. Look for the constellations Gemini and Cancer to spot interesting celestial features like star cluster M35, the Beehive Cluster, and NGC 3923, an oblong elliptical galaxy with an interesting ripple pattern. If you're up early any morning during March, you'll want to go out and look toward the east to catch a lovely grouping of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The three planets are visible before dawn throughout the month.

As winter turns into spring, the sky transitions as well with new starry sights to see.

Orion with his shining belt still dominates the evening sky. Just past Orion’s raised arm lies the constellation of Gemini, also known as the Twins. In Greek mythology, the Twins accompanied Jason and the Argonauts on their expedition in search of the Golden Fleece.

The brightest stars in Gemini mark the heads of the twins, Castor and Pollux. Pollux is a yellowish giant swelling as it enters old age, and hosts a Jupiter-sized planet. Castor is a system of three pairs of stars bound in an intricate gravitational dance.

At the feet of Gemini is a fuzzy patch that binoculars or a small telescope show to be a cluster of several hundred stars called M35.

Neighboring Gemini is the faint constellation of Cancer. Within the body of Cancer lies M44 - the Beehive Cluster, one of the nearest star clusters to Earth. This swarm of stars looks like a cloudy patch to the naked eye, but ground-based telescopes show a pleasing scatter of roughly 1000 stars.

Adjacent to Cancer lurks the head of Hydra, the water snake, the longest constellation in the sky. Distant galaxies like NGC 3923 reside along the snake’s coils. While NGC 3923 appears as a faint smudge in backyard telescopes, more powerful observatories reveal it to be a giant, oblong elliptical galaxy with an interesting ripple pattern.

Elliptical galaxies consist of billions of old stars with very little gas to make more. They can grow larger by ingesting smaller galaxies, forming concentric shells of stars.

 

 

 

 

Near the end of Hydra’s tail lies M83, a closer galaxy with a spiral shape. Also known as the Southern Pinwheel, the galaxy is a swirl of dark dust lanes, blue star clusters, and glowing pink star-forming clouds.

An X-ray image reveals details that no human eye could ever see on its own -- searing hot gases tracing the spiral arms and neutron stars emitting X-rays as they gobble up companions and a core of concentrated black holes and neutron stars, the product of recent star formation.

Winter and early spring are a great time to marvel at Sirius, the brightest star in our sky. Sirius is nicknamed "the Dog Star," because it's the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major. The main reason it's so bright in our sky is that it's one of the closest stars to our Sun, at just 8.6 light years away.

Sirius is actually a binary star system, with a tiny, white dwarf companion (although you'd need a decent-sized telescope to see it). Sirius is super easy to locate. Just face toward the south and look for Orion. The three bright stars that make up Orion's belt point downward, toward Sirius. (Unless you're in the Southern Hemisphere, and then they point upward toward Sirius).

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft, which in the past few years has begun exploring interstellar space, is actually headed in the direction of Sirius. It will pass within 4.3 light years of the bright star in about 300,000 years.

 

 

 

 

 

If you're up early any morning during March, you'll want to go out and look toward the east to catch a lovely grouping of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The three planets are visible before dawn throughout the month.

At the beginning of March they form a line, with Mars located above Jupiter. But each morning as the month goes on, Mars appears to get closer to the giant planets. On March 17, 18, and 19, an increasingly slim crescent Moon joins the three planets in a celestial quartet. Mars then passes just beneath Jupiter on the March 19th through the 21st, before continuing on its way, ending the month just beneath Saturn.

Finally this month, on March 28th, enjoy a beautiful grouping of Venus, the crescent Moon and the Pleiades in the western sky after sunset. The Pleiades are one of the best-known star clusters in the sky because they're so bright and easy to see — even in most urban areas. Although only a handful of the brightest stars in the cluster are visible to the unaided eye, there are actually hundreds there, and they are dazzling when seen through binoculars or a small telescope.

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: Canis Major

IC 468                          Diffuse Nebula            P132

IC 2165                        Planetary Nebula         P133

NGC 2204                    Open Cluster               Herschel 400 H13-7

NGC 2207                    Galaxy                        P216

- IC 2163                    Galaxy                              - Interacting with P216

NGC 2217                    Galaxy                        P72

NGC 2243                    Open Cluster               P134

NGC 2287                    Open Cluster               M41

NGC 2345                    Open Cluster               P73

NGC 2354                    Open Cluster               Herschel 400 H16-7

NGC 2359                    Diffuse Nebula             P20 - Thor’s Helmet

NGC 2360                    Open Cluster               C58, Herschel 400 H12-7

NGC 2362                    Open Cluster               C64, Herschel 400 H17-7

NGC 2367                    Open Cluster               P74

NGC 2374                    Open Cluster               P75

NGC 2383                    Open Cluster               P135

NGC 2384                    Open Cluster               P76

  

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: Orion

IC 434                          Diffuse Nebula            P92 - Horsehead Nebula

NGC 1662                    Open Cluster               P39

NGC 1788                    Diffuse Nebula             Herschel 400 H32-5

NGC 1976                    Diffuse Nebula             M42 - Great Orion Nebula

NGC 1977                    Open Cluster               P40 - Running Man Nebular Cluster

     - NGC 1973             Diffuse Nebula                        - Part of P40

     - NGC 1975             Diffuse Nebula                        - Part of P40

NGC 1980                    Open Cluster               Herschel 400 H31-5

NGC 1981                    Open Cluster               P41

NGC 1982                    Diffuse Nebula             M43 - DeMairan Nebula

NGC 1999                    Diffuse Nebula             Herschel 400 H33-4

NGC 2022                    Diffuse Nebula             Herschel 400 H34-4

NGC 2023                    Diffuse Nebula             P93

NGC 2024                    Diffuse Nebula             Herschel 400 H28-5 - Flame Nebula

NGC 2039                    Open Cluster               P94

NGC 2068                    Diffuse Nebula             M78

NGC 2071                    Diffuse Nebula             P42

NGC 2112                    Open Cluster               P170

NGC 2141                    Open Cluster               P171

NGC 2143                    Open Cluster               P172

NGC 2169                    Open Cluster               Herschel 400 H24-8

NGC 2175                    Open Cluster               P43

     - NGC 2174             Diffuse Nebula                        - Part of P43

     - IC 2159                 Diffuse Nebula                       - Part of P43

NGC 2186                    Open Cluster               Herschel 400 H25-7

NGC 2194                    Open Cluster               Herschel 400 H5-6

 

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:

Northern Latitudes:

http://hubblesite.org/videos/tonights_sky

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

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/whats-up-skywatching-tips-from-nasa/

https://www.youtube.com/user/JPLnews/search?query=What’s+Up

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.parkland.edu/Audience/Community-Business/Parkland-Presents/Planetarium/Educational-Resources/Tonights-Sky

https://www.fairbanksmuseum.org/planetarium/eye-on-the-night-sky

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

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

https://www.astromart.com/news/search?category_id=3&q=kiss+the+sky&from=&to

 

Equatorial Latitudes:

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

 

Southern Latitudes:

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

 

 

Astromart News Archives:

https://www.astromart.com/news/search?category_id=3&q=.

 

 

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