Mark Alan Lovewell

Springtime Crescent Moon

Tonight's crescent moon has a feature we all associate with spring. The cusps are evenly placed in distance from the horizon. It looks like the moon is a bowl and it can hold water. An artist, an illustrator, can draw a picture of the moon holding water. This only happens in the evening at spring time here on Martha's Vineyard.

Tonight's crescent moon appears above the brilliant planet Venus. Both are in the zodiacal constellation Aries. The moon is moving into the zodiacal constellation Taurus where it will be for the rest of the weekend.

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Crescent Moon and Planets

A thin crescent moon will appear low on the horizon at sunset on Wednesday, March 22. The moon will appear right next to the planet Jupiter. You'll need an unobscured view of the southwestern sky at sunset.

More folks will see the moon the following evening, when the moon is higher and closer to the bright planet Venus. All three celestial objects are in the zodiacal constellation Aries.

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Late Winter Constellations

The night sky has shifted gradually. The winter constellations are departing, hanging low in the western sky.

The favorite constellation Orion, the hunter, is now hanging high in the southwestern sky. Remember when it was due South. Even the zodiacal constellation Taurus has eased more westward. The constellation has shifted from overhead now to high in the western sky.

Rising in the east is the zodiacal constellation Leo, always presaging warmer weather ahead.

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Venus and Jupiter

The two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, continue to dance low in the southwestern sky after sunset. Take a look. The two were closest together on Wednesday. They are separating. Jupiter is now appearing under Venus. In the weeks ahead Jupiter will noticeably sink lower into the evening twilight. Venus will continue to grow in height and set later in the evening. Venus will be at its highest in mid-June. Right now the two planets are in the zodiacal constellation Pisces. Jupiter will be in Pisces for a while.

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Venus and Jupiter

The two brightest planets, Jupiter and Venus, appear close together on the evening of Wednesday, March 1. You'll see the two low in the southwestern sky right after sunset. In this conjunction the two are only a half a degree apart. To most observers the two will look as one bright object, as bright as an airplane approaching the runway with its landing lights on.

Moon and Mars

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Crescent Moon, Jupiter and Venus

On Tuesday and Wednesday nights a thin crescent moon is in proximity to the bright planets Venus and Jupiter. The three are low in the southwestern sky right after sunset and available for viewing for a short time.

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Comet and Mars

Tomorrow night a comet will appear in close proximity to the red planet Mars. The comet known as the "Green Comet," has a scientific name C/2022 E3 ZTF and has been watched by astronomers for months. Unfortunately, it is extremely faint. It is too dim to see even with binoculars for many.

You have a chance to see it if you have powerful binoculars and or at least a small telescope. Look in the area close to the red planet Mars, now in the zodiacal constellation Taurus, almost directly overhead around 8 p.m.

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Snow Full Moon

Sunday's full moon, The Snow Moon, appears in the zodiacal constellation Leo. While the season says winter now, there is a warmer thought. Leo is a constellation we associate with spring. Not far from the moon there is the bright star Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation.

It is a welcome thought, that our full moon each month appears in the constellation of the season ahead.

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Mars and Moon

On Monday night the gibbous moon appears close to the red planet Mars. Both are in the zodiacal constellation Taurus. For those who have watched Mars, the planet has clearly lost its brilliance of a month ago. When Mars was in opposition in early December, it was the brightest it has been in many years. Mars is now farther from us and thus not as bright. Astronomers estimate the planet is 81 million miles away, almost twice as far away as it was two months ago. Our Earth is moving rapidly away from Mars By the end of February Mars will be 102 million miles away.

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Saturn and Venus

The planets Saturn and Venus will be so close together Sunday night, you may miss it. The planets will be only a half degree apart, so close that the sight requires special attention.

Both planets are low in the southwestern sky right after sunset. The two will be amid the glow of twilight. As the night darkens, Venus will continue to brighten, looking almost like an airplane coming in with landing lights on. Take a more careful look at Venus for Saturn.

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