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March: Find the Winter Hexagon – Sky & Telescope

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As you’ll be taught on this month’s Sky Tour podcast, this will probably be a month of transition in additional methods than one. First, on March 14th, we leap to sunlight time in just about all the U.S. and Canada (two weeks later in Europe, three in Mexico).

March can also be when Earth reaches one of many two equinox factors in its year-long orbit. This month it falls on the 20th at 5:37 a.m. Jap Daylight Time. Though this equinox alerts the start of northern spring, there’s extra to it than simply that. Equinox comes from the Latin phrase aequinoctium — and to be taught what which means, make sure to obtain this month’s Sky Tour.

The change to sunlight time has one benefit for skywatchers: Throughout March, for many of us, the sky is as soon as once more darkish after we stand up every day. Exit about 30 minutes earlier than daybreak on the fifth, and you’ll spot Mercury proper subsequent to a lot brighter Jupiter very low within the east-southeast. Saturn is a bit of farther to the higher proper.

The one planet we are able to simply see after sundown is Mars. It’s greater than midway from the horizon to overhead, excessive within the southwest. Early in March you’ll discover it close to a widely known star cluster — the 2 haven’t haven’t been this shut collectively since 2006, and it gained’t occur once more till 2038. And which star cluster may that be? Tune on this month’s Sky Tour for the reply!

Stars of the Winter Hexagon explained in the March Sky Tour
Northern winter skies function an enormous six-sided asterism generally known as the Winter Hexagon with Betelgeuse close to its middle.
Supply: Stellarium

The night sky is adorned with many shiny stars, anchored by mighty Orion, the Hunter. His distinctive three-star belt is framed by the brilliant star Betelgeuse above it and Rigel beneath it. As defined on this month’s Sky Tour, you’ll be able to consider Betelgeuse as the middle of an enormous six-sided polygon within the sky, identified to stargazers all over the place because the Winter Hexagon. It’s proven above.

Sirius ranks because the brightest of all the celebs within the nighttime sky, and it’s ready for you because the night sky darkens. It is generally known as the Canine Star partially as a result of it anchors the constellation Canis Main, the Massive canine. Nevertheless it was well-known hundreds of years in the past — not for the way it seemed within the winter sky however as a substitute for its look earlier than daybreak later within the 12 months. This month’s Sky Tour tells you all about this fascinating story.

In actual fact, our 12-minute guided tour of the nighttime sky leads you to every kind of celestial discoveries — in an attractive and attention-grabbing 12-minute podcast. So obtain or stream it now and let it immerse you in the fantastic thing about the star-filled heavens above.

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