Skywatch: Look for Jupiter’s Great Red Spot with a telescope on Monday


Sunday: Just after sunset today a bright Iridium flare is visible in the south-southwest. The flare occurs at 6:15 p.m. 47 degrees above the horizon. The sky will still be bright so it will be important to look about half way above the horizon while facing south.

Monday: This morning Jupiter is visible. The planet is the brightest object in the southern sky, and through binoculars at least two moons are visible. The changing positions of Jupiter’s moons is an easy observation to make, but the Great Red Spot Can also be seen when the planet is viewed through a telescope. Later in the spring Jupiter will be better positioned to view in the evening and you can try and catch this giant storm, which is actually shrinking.

Tuesday: This morning the International Space Station makes a high pass through the sky. The spacecraft starts off 10 degrees above the west-southwest horizon at 6:14 a.m. Three minutes later the space station reaches its apex at a height of 53 degrees above the southeast horizon. The space station continues across the sky and is 10 degrees up in the northeast at 6:20 a.m.

Wednesday: Another pass of the International Space Station is visible tomorrow morning. The ISS emerges from the earth’s shadow 15 degrees above the west-northwest horizon at 6:08 a.m. By 6:10 a.m. it has climbed an additional eight degrees and moved into the north-northwest. The space station continues moving eastward and by 6:13 a.m. is 10 degrees above the north-northeast horizon.

Thursday: The full moon occurs at 6:51 p.m. Similar to January this is the first of two full moons for March. The March full moon is known as the worm moon, because at this time of the year the ground begins to thaw and worms will appear, signaling the return of the robins.

Friday: Low in the western sky the planet Venus shines brightly in the sky at 6:45 p.m. A little harder to see is the planet Mercury to the lower left of Venus. Watch the pair over the coming few days as Mercury moves closer to Venus.

Saturday: To the west of the constellation of Taurus the bull is the constellation of Aries the ram. Aries is located 30 degrees above the western horizon at 8 p.m. The brightest star in the constellation is Hamal. From Hamal, move 4 degrees to the west, then 1½ degrees to the southwest to Mesarthim, or Gamma Arietis. Gamma Arietis is a double star only distinguishable as two stars when viewed through a telescope.