Those dog nights of winter

Svenska: Mångård English: Moon dog

Image via Wikipedia

Recently, there have been reports of a hallo or ring around the moon.

No, it’s not a hole in the ozone layer or divine intervention. It happens as moon light refracts when it passes through ice crystals and clouds in the upper atmosphere. A ring with a bright spot on it is called a moon dog.

Here are some events for March stargazers. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.

Planet watching

Mercury can be seen in the west during evening twilight but difficult to see by mid-month. The best time to see Mercury is March 1-9. Normally it’s lost in the glare of the sun but you can see it near the western horizon about an hour after sunset.

Venus is also in the western evening sky setting mid-evening. Mars rises in the east during evening twilight and is visible all night. Jupiter is in the south western sky and sets in the northwest by mid-evening.

Saturn rises in the east after mid-evening and is easily seen throughout the night. Uranus is low in the south west during evening twilight and difficult to see by mid-month. Neptune can’t be seen at all this month as it’s lost behind the glare of the sun.

March 5 – Tonight is the best time all year to see Mars. Mars is nearest the Earth, which happens every 26 months. During the first two weeks of this month, Mars will be at its brightest for the entire year.

March 7 – The moon is below Mars

March 8 – The full moon this month is called the worm moon.

March 9 – Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Spectator Building, 44 Frid St., Hamilton. Featured speakers: Mike Spicer, March Madness and John Gauvreau, The Sky for March 2012. Everyone welcome. Free admission with door prizes. An optional donation will be collected for local food banks.

March 10 – The moon is at perigee or closet to the Earth at 362,399 km.

March 11-13 – Venus continues its upper climb and passes Jupiter. The two bright planets are unmistakable.

March 14 – First quarter moon

March 20 – Spring finally arrives with the Vernal Equinox at 1:14 a.m.

March 25 and 26 – There will be a pairing of the crescent moon and Jupiter in the western sky at dusk.

March 26 – Moon at apogee or furthest from the Earth at 405,779 km.

March 30 – Last quarter moon.

March 31 – Celebrate Earth day with the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers. Take advantage of the darkness at the Grimsby public observing night to look through telescopes at the moon, planets and other celestial objects. Gateway Niagara Information Centre, 424 South Service Rd, 8-11 p.m.

For more information, please see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers web site at or call (905) 627-4323.

Mario Carr is the club’s director of public education and can be reached at



About Mario Carr

Mario Carr has a Physics degree from McMaster University and hosts this blog. He is the director of publicity for the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers and has helped to raise the profile of the group. He writes an astronomy column and appeared on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. Mario is the founder of the Carr Marketing Group in Burlington, Ontario and can help with your marketing, communications, publicity and public relations needs. He can be reached at or
This entry was posted in The sky this month and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Those dog nights of winter

  1. Pingback: Good Night To See Mars In The East | Wis U.P. North

  2. Pingback: April brings spring constellations | The sky this month

  3. Pingback: May’s super sized moon | The sky this month

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s