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Last Week's Stargazing Tips

March 19: Vernal Equinox

Spring begins in the northern hemisphere tomorrow as the Sun crosses the equator from south to north, a moment known as the vernal equinox.

March 18: Moon and Regulus

Regulus, the brightest star of Leo, the lion, is just a whisker away from the Moon tonight. The bright star we see as Regulus has a tiny companion known as a white dwarf. It’s the dead core of a once-normal star.

March 17: Spring Triangle

Three bright stars form a tall triangle in the east by about 10 or 11 p.m. The brightest is yellow-orange Arcturus, the third-brightest star in the night sky. Spica is far to the right of Arcturus, with Regulus high above and to the right of Spica.

March 16: Spinning Stars

The beautiful Pleiades is high in the west as night falls at this time of year. The star cluster looks like a tiny dipper. Right now, it stands above bright orange Mars by about the width of your fist held at arm's length.

March 15: Little Bear

Ursa Minor, the little bear, wheels high across the north every night. Some of its brightest stars form the Little Dipper. The tip of the dipper’s handle is the North Star, Polaris.

March 14: Green Flash

Earth’s atmosphere bends and splits sunlight, creating rainbows and other displays, including the rarely seen “green flash.” Under clear, clean skies it appears with the first burst of sunlight before sunrise or the last glimpse at sunset.

March 13: First-Quarter Moon

The Moon reaches first quarter tomorrow at 5:27 a.m. CDT. The Moon will line up at a right angle to Earth and the Sun, so sunlight will illuminate half of the lunar hemisphere that faces our way.