By Mario Carr
The next two months are prime times to see Jupiter this year.
Earth will be closets to the planet or at opposition on March 8. On this date, Earth will be between the Sun and Jupiter and you’ll see Jupiter all night rising in the east and by midnight it will be in the southern sky.
If you look at it through a telescope, it will be at its biggest and brightest point for all of 2016 and a good time to see details on the gas giant. If you aim a telescope towards it on March 7 from 7:28 p.m. – 8:58 p.m., you’ll see a double shadow transit. Moons Io and Europa will cast their shadows at the same time on the cloud tops of Jupiter. It also occurs March 14 late evening and March 22 early morning.
Mercury can be seen in the morning sky until March 14. Venus shines brightly in the dawn sky. Mars and Saturn rise in the east around midnight. Uranus vanishes in the evening twilight sky the middle of March.
Here are March stargazer events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.
March 1 – The last quarter Moon is between Mars and Saturn in the morning sky.
March 2 – The Moon is above Saturn in the morning sky.
March 7 – The thin crescent Moon is above Venus low in the dawn sky.
March 11 – Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting 7:30-9:30 p.m, Spectator Building, 44 Frid St., Hamilton. Free admission, door prizes and everybody is welcome. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected and appreciated.
March 20 – Spring finally arrives with the Vernal Equinox at 12:30 a.m.
March 21 – The Moon is below Jupiter in the evening sky.
March 23 – This month’s Full Moon is called the Worm Moon.
March 25 – From a dark location for the next two weeks, you can see light reflecting off dust particles in the solar system known as Zodiacal light in the western evening sky.
March 28 – The Moon is above Mars in the morning sky.
March 29 – The Moon is above Saturn in the morning sky.
For more information, see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers website at http://www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323. The club offers a basic astronomy course for members.
Mario Carr is the club’s director of publicity and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MarioCCarr