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In the Sky This Month

With the evening stars of winter starting to disappear, the stars of spring begin their inexorable climb across the sky. Perhaps the most famous is Regulus, the heart of Leo, the lion, which lunges high across the south. It's followed by Spica, the leading light of Virgo, which climbs into good view in late evening by the end of the month, preparing for an even better show in April.

March 21: Moon and Spica

Look for the Moon climbing into good view by about 10 or 10:30 p.m. the next couple of nights. The bright star Spica will stand to the lower right of the Moon tonight, and to the upper right tomorrow night.

March 22: Pointing South

The Southern Cross creeps above the horizon for skywatchers in the far-southern United States. This small, kite-shaped pattern of stars climbs into view from Hawaii and southern Texas and Florida late in the evening.

March 23: Martian Spring

Spring begins in the northern hemisphere of Mars today. The planet continues to highlight the early evening sky. It’s about a third of the way up the western sky as night falls and looks like a moderately bright orange star.

March 24: Moon and Antares

Antares will stand to the lower left of the Moon at first light tomorrow. Although it looks like a single pinpoint, the orange heart of the scorpion consists of two stars. Both are far bigger and heavier than the Sun.

March 25: Chara

Canes Venatici, the hunting dogs, is in the east-northeast at nightfall. Its brightest star is Cor Caroli. Chara, the second-brightest star, stands above it. Chara is almost identical to the Sun.

March 26: Moon and Jupiter

Look for the Moon early tomorrow, with a brilliant companion close by: the planet Jupiter, which outshines everything in the night sky except the Moon and Venus. They stand side by side at first light.

March 27: Last-Quarter

The Moon is at last quarter tonight, three-quarters of the way through its month-long orbit around Earth. At last quarter, sunlight illuminates exactly half of the hemisphere facing our way, so it looks as though someone sliced the Moon in half.

Current moon phase

New MoonNew Mar. 6, 10:04 am

First QuarterFirst Mar. 14, 5:27 am

Full MoonFull Mar. 20, 8:43 pm

Last quarterLast Mar. 27, 11:10 pm

Times are U.S. Central Time.

Apogee Mar. 4, 31

Perigee Mar. 19

The full Moon of March is known as the Sap Moon, Worm Moon, or Lenten Moon.