Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory
- In the Sky for March 2017 -

Source: EVAC March Newsletter

The Moon & Planets: 

  • On Wednesday, March 1, starting about 7:30 PM, you can see a lot of solar system objects. First nd Venus, bright at magnitude -4.6, about 18 degrees above the horizon in the West. Use a telescope to see the slim but big crescent with its horns pointing up. Next, look for comet 2P/Encke, much dimmer at magnitude 5, and halfway to the horizon below Venus. This will be the tough one to observe. Next, look up and to the left from Venus for the thin crescent Moon (magnitude -6.6). Next move a short distance to the right for Mars (magnitude +1.3, size 4.6 arc-seconds, don’t expect to see much through a telescope). Finally, look a short distance below Mars (half the distance from the Moon, but down) for Uranus (magnitude 5.9, size 3.4 arc-seconds). That gets you the Moon, three planets, and a comet.
  • From Thursday, March 2 through Monday, March 6 the Northern part of the Moon is tipped toward us so it is a good time to look along the terminator above and below Mare Frigoris.

  • On Saturday, March 4, the Moon is at first quarter phase and sets at 1:15 AM (Sunday). At 8:19 PM (Saturday), the dark limb of the Moon occults Aldebaran. At 9:34 PM the star reappears from behind the bright limb of the Moon.

  • On Sunday, March 12, at 2 AM, most of the rest of the United States engages in the silly ritual of going on Daylight Savings Time (springing forward by setting their clocks to 3 AM). Arizona, with its superior knowledge of the universe, remains on Mountain Standard Time.

  • On Monday, March 13, the full Moon rises at 7:54 PM, spoiling any chance of hunting for faint fuzzies for the night.

  • On Friday, March 17, Io and its shadow transit Jupiter between 10:16 PM and 12:55 AM (Saturday). Notice how the satellite and its shadow grow closer as Jupiter approaches opposition (April 7).

  • On Sunday, March 19, the Moon is at third quarter phase and rises at 1:17 AM (Monday).

  • On Monday, March 20, spring comes to the northern hemisphere and we have equal days and nights.

  • On Wednesday, March 22, Europa and its shadow transit Jupiter from 10:23 PM to 1:32 AM (Thursday).

  • On Monday, March 27, it is new Moon and you have all night to hunt for faint fuzzies.

  • On Friday, March 31, at around 7:30 PM, Mercury will be about 10 degrees above the western horizon. It is not going to be more visible in the evening for the rest of the year. At 8:45 PM, the Moon occults the magnitude 3.6 star Gamma Tauri. The star reappears at 9:16 PM. Sky Safari lists it as a very close double, but doesn't give the secondary's magnitude, so you might see it disappear in two steps.

  • Evening Planets (after sunset): 

    • Mercury, W
    • Venus, W
    • Uranus, W
    • Mars, W

    Morning Planets (before sunrise): 

    • Jupiter, SW
    • Saturn, S
    • Neptune, W
    • Venus, E

    Phases of the Moon: 

    Phase Date Time Current Moon Info
    First Quarter Moon March 5 3:32 AM MST

    Description: Description: Description: Description: Click for Gilbert, Arizona Forecast

    Full Moon March 12 8:54 AM MST
    Last Quarter Moon March 18 9:58 AM MST
    New Moon March 27 7:57 AM MST


    There are no comets brighter than magnitude 8 this month.


    There are no significant meteor showers in March.