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The Skies of March, 2022

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March Skies

by Dick Cookman

March 5, 2022

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, March Moon

Focus Constellations: Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Perseus, Auriga, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Lynx, Leo Minor

Comet Journal

C/2017 K2 (PanSTARRS) is on the border of Aquarius and Capricornus in March. It will be closest to Earth on July 14, 2022, and will reach perihelion on December 19, 2022. It is currently at 10th magnitude and may reach naked eye visibility near perihelion.

C/2019 L3 (ATLAS) is in Gemini at almost 8th magnitude in March. Atlas reached perihelion on January 9 and was closest to Earth on January 6. Comet 19P/Borrelly (2022) is an 8th magnitude evening comet which moves from Aries through Perseus in March. It was closest to Earth on December 11 and passed through perihelion on February 1.

Mars Landers

During its year on the floor of Jezero Crater, Perseverance collected 10 drilling samples from 5 locations. After solving the “clogged pebbles situation” on a sample drilled from Issole, the rover turned around and is retracing its path to the landing site. After sampling Ch’ał-type rocks at a hill called Santa Cruz, Perseverance will head to the delta on the edge of the crater.

The InSight lander survived the latest Martian dust storm and emerged from “safe mode” on January 17. The solar panels of NASA’s InSight lander are producing almost as much power as they did before the storm, enabling the lander to continue science operations into the summer.

On the approach to the edge of the rock layers that cap Greenheugh Pediment, the Curiosity Rover ascended through an area with numerous flat-topped buttes and investigated the sedimentary layering in the steep sides of “The Prow” and Mirador Butte in January and February. The sedimentary structures and grain size variations observed reveal depositional history and ancient environmental conditions.

Meteor Showers

Meteor showers avoid March skies. Two minor showers include the Virginid Meteor series in March peaking between the 3rd and 22nd and the Gamma Normids, a Southern Hemisphere shower. Gibbous and full phases of the Moon will interfere with any meteors between March 11 and 25. Several peaks:

  • Virginids. Active Jan. 25-Apr. 15. Radiant 13h00m +04°(Mar 25). ZHR up to 5. 30 km/sec. Gibbous & Full Moon. Progenitor: Asteroid 1998 SJ 70.
  • Gamma Normids. Active Feb. 25-Mar. 22. Radiant 16h36m -51°. ZHR 8. 56 km/sec. Waning Gibbous Moon. Progenitor: Unknown.

Planet Plottings

Morning planets close to the southeastern horizon before dawn in early March include Saturn (+0.8) and Mercury (0.0) in Capricornus with Mars (+1.3) and Venus (-4.4) in Sagittarius slightly higher and farther south. Saturn and Mercury are less than 1 degree apart on the 2nd. After its solar conjunction on the 5th, Jupiter(-1.9) in Aquarius joins the party low in the eastern twilight and appears slightly over 1 degree away from Mercury on the 20th which drops farther into the glow of the rising Sun in late March. Higher and farther south in Capricornus, Venus (-4.2) reaches greatest western elongation from the Sun (47°) on the 20th. It is clustered with Mars (+1.1), and the waning Moon and 2 degrees from Saturn (+0.9) on the 29th. Uranus (+5.8) in Aries is an evening planet. Dim Neptune (+8.0) in Aquarius is difficult to find in the evening twilight before it’s conjunction with the Sun on the 13th.

PlanetConstellation(s)MagnitudePlanet PassagesTimeDate
SunCapricornus – Aquarius-26.5New Moon12:35PM EST3/2
MercuryCapricornus, Cetus0.0 to -1.6Saturn, 0.7°N
Jupiter, 1.3°N
8:00AM EST
6:00PM EDT
VenusSagittarius, Capricornus-4.4 to -4.2Mars, 4.0°
Maximum Western Elongation
Saturn, 2.0°S
9:00AM EST
5:00AM EDT
9:00AM EDT
MarsSagittarius, Capricornus+1.3 to +1.1Venus, 4.0°N9:00AM EST3/12
JupiterAquarius-1.9Solar Conjunction
Mercury, 1.3°S
9:00AM EST
6:00PM EDT
SaturnCapricornus+0.8 to +0.9Mercury, 0.7°S
Venus, 2.0°N
8:00AM EST
9:00AM EDT
UranusAries+5.8 to +5.9   
NeptuneAquarius8.0Solar Conjunction8:00AM EDT3/13

March Moon

The New Moon of March in Pisces on the 2nd at 12:35PM EST is the start of Lunation 1227 which ends 29.58 days later with the New Moon of April 1 at 2:24AM EDT. Virgo hosts the Full Moon of March on the 18th at 3:18AM EDT, 2 days before the Spring Equinox on the 20th at 11:33AM. Full Moon is 5 days after the switch to daylight time on the 13th in 2022, the second Sunday of March. The “second Sunday” timing established in 2006 insured that daylight saving time was in place before Spring. DST supporters proposed (with meager evidence) that it saves energy. Many farmers disliked it because dew doesn’t dry until later in the morning hours which shortens the work day for employees. Capitalists like the increase in GNP due to more evening hours available for shopping.

The March Moon is called Lenten, Sap, or Crow Moon. It was the “Fish Moon” in Colonial America and the “Chaste Moon” in Medieval England. Celts called it “Moon of Winds”, and the Chinese call it “Sleepy Moon”. Of 13 Grandmother Moons during each year, Anishnaabe (Odawa and Ojibwe) first people recognize it as “Sugar Moon” or “Snowcrust Moon” (Onaabani-giizis in the western dialect and Onaabdin-giizis in the eastern dialect). The cultural teaching that explains the cycle of life and nature for the Sugar Moon of Creation is: “As maple sap begins to run, we learn of one of the main medicines given to the Anishnabe which balances our blood, and heals us. During this time, we are encouraged to balance our lives as we would our sugar levels, by using Divine Law.” Lunar Apogee (maximum lunar distance) is on March 10 at 6:04AM EST, when the Moon will be at a distance of 251,200 mi. (63.38 Earth radii). Lunar Perigee distance (minimum lunar distance) is 229,758 mi. (57.97 Earth radiil) on the 23rd at 7:37PM EDT. The waxing crescent Moon appears to occult (eclipse, it’s not magical or supernatural), then pass Uranus on the 7th. A waning crescent Moon passes Mars on the 27th, Venus and Saturn on the 28th, Jupiter and Neptune on the 30th, and Mercury on the 31st.

PlanetConstellationMagnitudeMoon PassagesMoon PhaseMoon Age
SunAquarius-26.812:35PM EST, 3/2New0 Days
MercuryCetus-1.72.4°S, 11:59PM EDT, 3/31Waning Crescent29.48 Days
VenusCapricornus-4.27.0°S, 6:00AM EDT, 3/28Waning Crescent25.73 Days
MarsCapricornus1.14.0°S, 11:00PM EDT, 3/27Waning Crescent25.43 Days
JupiterAquarius-1.94.0°S, 11:00AM EDT, 3/30Waning Crescent27.93 Days
SaturnCapricornus0.94.0°S, 8:00AM EDT, 3/28Waning Crescent25.81 Days
UranusAries5.80.8°S, 1:00AM EST, 3/7Waxing Crescent6.59 Days
NeptuneAquarius8.04.0° S, 4:00PM EDT, 3/30Waning Crescent28.14 Days


  • Garry, skypilgrim, n1234 and 2 others like this


Best time for Galaxy viewing, also getting Messier Object and NGC Objects done. Telescope viewing, Galaxies time of year!!! Note: You need those Filters (O-III), and other Filters to get it all in.


Clear Skies!

    • 25585 likes this
Very nice thanks for posting

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