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    Articles > March 2004
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  Sky Calendar -- March 2004
1 Moon near Saturn at 10h UT (evening sky). Saturn (mag. -0.1) is spectacular when viewed through even a small telescope.
4 Jupiter at opposition at 5h UT (mag. -2.5). The best time of the year to observe the largest planet in the solar system. A small telescope will easily reveal its four largest moons and several cloud bands.
6 Moon near Jupiter at 18h UT (midnight sky).
6 Full Moon at 23:15 UT. The full Moon of March is called the "Sap Moon", "Crow Moon" or "Lenten Moon".
12 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 4h UT (distance 369,506 km; angular size 32.3').
12 Moon near Antares at 22h UT (morning sky).
13 Last Quarter Moon at 21:01 UT.
20 Spring or vernal equinox at 6:49 UT. The time when the Sun reaches the point along the ecliptic where it crosses into the northern celestial hemisphere marking the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
20 New Moon at 22:42 UT. Beginning of lunation 1005.
21 Mars near the Pleiades at 10h UT (evening sky).
22 Moon near Mercury at 8h UT (16° from Sun, evening sky). Look in the west for the Moon and Mercury (mag. -0.9) about 30 minutes after sunset.
24 Moon near Venus at 23h UT (46° from Sun, evening sky). Venus brilliant at mag. -4.3.
25 Moon near the Pleiades at 18h UT (evening sky).
25 Moon very near Mars at 24h UT (evening sky). Mars at mag. +1.4. Occultation visible from Iceland and Greenland.
27 Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth) at 7h UT (distance 404,521 km; angular size 29.5').
28 First Quarter Moon at 23:48 UT.
29 Mercury at greatest elongation, 19° east from the Sun (evening sky) at 12h UT. Mercury at mag. -0.1.
29 Venus at greatest elongation, 46° east from the Sun (evening sky) at 16h UT. Venus at mag. -4.4.
The Planets: All five classic naked-eye planets will be visible later this month. Venus continues its dazzling display in the western sky reaching its highest evening elevation for 8 years (northern hemisphere). Jupiter in the east (at opposition) is at its brightest and biggest all year. A small telescope will easily show Jupiter's clouds and its 4 bright moons. Saturn's magnificent rings, just past maximum tilt open, are another easy target for small telescopes. Mars, the host of robotic explorers Spirit and Opportunity, appears as a tiny orange-colored dot even in large telescopes. Finally, elusive Mercury can be found below Venus in the later half of March -- its best evening display in 2004.
All times Universal Time (UT). (USA Eastern Standard Time = UT ­ 5 hours)

Clear skies till next month!

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