Leo takes its rightful place as the lord of the skies on March nights. The lion is in good view in the east as darkness falls, and springs high across the sky during the night. The bright planet Jupiter trails far behind it, near Spica, the brightest star of Virgo. And the even brighter planet Venus changes addresses during the month. It is the brilliant Evening Star as the month begins, but switches to the morning sky by month's end.
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In the Sky This Month
March 30: Moon and Mars
The planet Mars huddles quite close to the crescent Moon this evening. It looks like a moderately bright orange star, and stands to the lower right of the Moon as they drop down the western sky.
March 31: Moon and Aldebaran
The Moon stands just below the V-shaped pattern of stars that outlines the head of Taurus the bull this evening. The brightest member of that pattern is Aldebaran, the bull’s eye. The other members of the V belong to the Hyades star cluster.
April 1: Seeing Orange
Two colorful stars accompany the Moon down the western sky this evening. Aldebaran, the eye of the bull, stands to the lower right of the Moon. And slightly brighter Betelgeuse, the shoulder of Orion, is a little farther to the left of the Moon.
April 2: Vela
Vela, the sail of the ship that carried Jason and the Argonauts, flutters quite low across the south on these early spring evenings, but only from south of about Dallas or Tucson. And even then, it contains only a couple of moderately bright stars.
April 3: First-Quarter Moon
The Moon is at first quarter at 1:39 p.m. CDT today as it aligns at a right angle to the line between Earth and the Sun. The Moon will rise early this afternoon and stand high in the sky at nightfall.
April 4: Crater
Crater, the cup, is well up in the southeast as darkness falls and rolls across the southern sky as the night progresses. It represents a cup filled with wine or water that nearby Corvus, a crow, brought to the god Apollo.
April 5: Alkes
Alkes, one of the brightest stars of the constellation Crater, the cup, which is in the southeast at nightfall, is 175 light-years away, so the light we see from the star tonight actually began its journey toward Earth 175 years ago.