Star By Night
ASTRONOMY

March starts with the Moon in her First Quarter

March starts with the Moon in her First Quarter, one of the best epochs to enjoy her beauty through a telescope: her dark seas surrounded by long ranges of high mountains, large and small craters scattered in lonely plains, isolated peaks leaning out of broad flat areas as floating icebergs leave us astonished every time we visit them. And after the Full phase of day 9th, the constellations are getting back their protagonism. In the South-East, the mythical giant Orion and his

faithful dogs attract our attention due to their brilliant stars : Sirius, the brightest of the entire sky – representing the eye of the Great Dog, the redddish Betelgeuse, a supergiant which will explode as a supernova in the next millions of years, or the white Procyon, 'the one that preceds the dog' according to the ancient Greeks. But from the East the constellations which will protagonise the Spring – staring this year in the night of the 20th of March- are already peeping out: from the great Leo, the eye-catching figure of the Nemea's lion defeated by the heroe Hercules, to the wide Virgo, rich in symbols of the new season to be discussed in the next month. Among the planets, Venus is still shining in the West after sunset, but for the giants as Jupiter and Saturn, as well as Mars, we have to be patient a couple of months more, or in alternative to wake up before sunrise when we can easily observe them with naked eyes. Clear skies to everybody!

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