Monday 20th to Sunday 26th March 2023
On Monday 20th at , the centre of the Sun crosses the celestial equator. What it means in practical terms is the marking of the March equinox - the point in the calendar when we have equal periods of day and night - the Earth's tilt of 23.5 degrees is sideways on to the Sun. In the northern hemisphere, it is known as the Spring or Vernal Equinox. The same happens again six months later when we have the Autumn Equinox.
In-between those dates, the northern hemisphere is either tilted towards the Sun which gives us summer, or tilted away when we have winter.
The Moon is always popular with amateur astronomers and for someone who is just starting in the hobby, it is an easy target to set up in your telescope. But that isn't always the case! If you venture outside just as it's getting dark, around on Wednesday 22nd and look towards the west, you will be presented with an extremely thin 1%-lit Crescent Moon a little underneath Jupiter as the pair set below the horizon.
Above them and slightly to the left you will find Venus shining brightly.
If a 1% Moon is too difficult to spot, wait a couple of days and then around on Friday 24th, a 9%-lit Crescent Moon will be located just above Venus towards the west.
The following night, Saturday 25th at the same time, the Moon will have become 20%-lit and will be close to the Pleiades open cluster of stars.
Screenshots courtesy of Stellarium
Copyright Adrian Dening and Radio Ninesprings 2023