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.
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In the Sky This Month
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 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 20: More Vernal Equinox
The Moon will be full tonight, just hours after the start of spring in the northern hemisphere. It will be a “supermoon,” which means it will look a little bigger and brighter than average.
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.