Our Sky Tour astronomy podcast provides an engaging guided tour of the planets, stars, and constellations overhead during March.
As you’ll learn in this month’s Sky Tour podcast, this will be a month of transition in more ways than one. First, on March 14th, we jump to daylight time in virtually all of the U.S. and Canada (two weeks later in Europe, three in Mexico).
March is also when Earth reaches one of the two equinox points in its year-long orbit. This month it falls on the 20th at 5:37 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Although this equinox signals the beginning of northern spring, there’s more to it than just that. Equinox comes from the Latin word aequinoctium — and to learn what that means, be sure to download this month’s Sky Tour.
The switch to daylight time has one advantage for skywatchers: During March, for most of us, the sky is once again dark when we get up each day. Go out about 30 minutes before dawn on the 5th, and you can spot Mercury right next to much brighter Jupiter very low in the east-southeast. Saturn is a little farther to the upper right.
The only planet we can easily see after sunset is Mars. It’s more than halfway from the horizon to overhead, high in the southwest. Early in March you’ll find it near a well-known star cluster — the two haven’t haven’t been this close together since 2006, and it won’t happen again until 2038. And which star cluster might that be? Tune in this month’s Sky Tour for the answer!
The evening sky is adorned with many bright stars, anchored by mighty Orion, the Hunter. His distinctive three-star belt is framed by the bright star Betelgeuse above it and Rigel below it. As explained in this month’s Sky Tour, you can think of Betelgeuse as the center of a huge six-sided polygon in the sky, known to stargazers everywhere as the Winter Hexagon. It’s shown above.
Sirius ranks as the brightest of all the stars in the nighttime sky, and it’s waiting for you as the evening sky darkens. It's known as the Dog Star in part because it anchors the constellation Canis Major, the Big dog. But it was well known thousands of years ago — not for how it looked in the winter sky but instead for its appearance before dawn later in the year. This month’s Sky Tour tells you all about this fascinating story.
In fact, our 12-minute guided tour of the nighttime sky leads you to all kinds of celestial discoveries — in an engaging and interesting 12-minute podcast. So download or stream it now and let it immerse you in the beauty of the star-filled heavens above.