Tag Archives: March

Pyxis (The mariner’s compass)

Pyxis is a small, dim southern constellation. Locate it by following Canis Major’s tail away from the dog’s body and through and just to the other side of Puppis. This constellation’s deep southern placement makes it difficult to see at all. It reaches its highest nightfall ascension in March. Although the Milky Way runs through this constellation, there are few deep space objects available to the amateur astronomer’s telescope.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyxis

IAU Pyxis chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Pyxis chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Monoceros (The unicorn)

MonocerosCCThe unicorn is a dim equatorial constellation that is in very close proximity to several major constellations that steal the show in the region of the sky. Monoceros is south of Canis Minor and Gemini, to the left of Orion, and north of Canis Major, and reaches its highest nightfall ascension in March. There is one Messier object, M50, and four named deep space objects: Rosette Nebula (NGC 2237, 2238, 2239, and 2246), the Christmas Tree Cluster (NGC 2264), the Cone Nebula (NGC 2264), and Hubble’s Nebula (NGC 2261).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monoceros

IAU Monoceros chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Monoceros chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Puppis (The poop deck)

MonocerosPuppis, the poop deck, was once part of a much larger constellation, Argos Navis, the famous ship of Jason and the Argonauts. Puppis is the largest remnant, and Carina (keel and hull) and Vela (the sails) are the other modern constellations that were once part of Argos Navis. Puppis is located to the south and east of Canis Major, or just behind the dog’s tail. This constellation is visible just a few months of the year because of its far southern placement. It reaches its highest nightfall ascension in March, and is only visible at nightfall just a month or two before and after March. The Milky Way runs through Puppis, which accounts for the star clusters that are found there. M46 and M47 are two Messier clusters than can be seen in the same binocular field of view, and there is a third Messier cluster, M93, in the south of Puppis. There are several NGC star clusters in Puppis as well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puppis

IAU Puppis chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnoff and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Puppis chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Canis Minor (The lesser dog)

Canis MinorCanis Minor is the lesser dog that follows the great hunter, Orion. This constellation was one of the 48 constellations cataloged by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remains among the 88 modern constellations. This small, 71st-largest constellation is best seen in March, and is located east of Orion, south of Gemini, and northeast of Canis Major, the greater dog that follows Orion. Its brightest stars are Procyon (Alpha Canis Minoris) and Gomeisa (Beta Canis Minoris). This constellation contains the Canis-Minorids meteor shower, which lasts from 4-15 December, and peaks over the nights of 10 and 11 December. The Milky Way runs through this constellation, but it contains no Messier objects.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canis_Minor

610px-Canis_Minor_IAU.svg (1)
IAU Canis Minor Chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Lynx (The lynx)

This faint, northern circumpolar constellation is best seen in March. It is so named because lynx-like vision is required to see its faint stars. Also, it represents the long, stretched out body of a lynx. This 28th-largest constellation is located between the Big Dipper, Pollux and Castor of Gemini, and Auriga.  Its only named star is Alsciaukat, which is Arabic for thorn. This constellation’s most notable deep sky object, the Intergalactic Tramp (NGC 2419), is the globular cluster of stars most distant from Earth. The Lynx reaches its highest nightfall ascension in March.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx_(constellation)

IAU Lynx chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Lacerta (The lizard)

Andromeda, LacertaLacerta, the lizard, is a northern hemisphere constellation that presents a slight “W” shape, and is hence sometimes referred to as “Little Cassiopeia.” It is nestled among five large and distinct constellations: Cepheus, Cygnus, Pegasus, Andromeda and Cassiopeia, and it can be found highest in the sky at nightfall in March. Most notable for telescope viewers is Roe 47, a multiple star system consisting of five gravitationally-bound components between 6th and 10th magnitude. While the brightest, 6th magnitude component can usually be seen with the unaided eye under very dark skies, a modest telescope is required to see all five components.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lacerta

IAU Lacerta chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Lacerta chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014
jim@jrjohnson.net

Cancer (The crab)

CancerCC_croppedCancer, the crab, is a zodiacal constellation of rather dim stars that can be difficult to see in light polluted skies. It is one of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. Cancer is located on the ecliptic, half way between Pollux in Gemini and Regulus in Leo, and is highest in the sky at nightfall in March. If Cancer’s stars are not visible, try using binoculars, and then look again once the various stars in the constellation have been located. Cancer is home to two Messier objects, M44 (the Beehive Cluster, or Praesepe) and M67.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cancer_(constellation)

IAU Cancer chart, Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.
IAU Cancer chart, Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 4, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net

Gemini (The twins)

Constellation GeminiGemini, the twins, is a zodiacal constellation that was also one of the 48 constellations cataloged by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy that remain among the 88 modern constellations. This constellation located above Orion’s left shoulder, and between Taurus and Cancer on the ecliptic. It is highest in the sky at nightfall in March, and is quickly identified by two rather bright stars of approximately equal brightness, Castor and Pollux, that represent each of the Gemini twins. The ecliptic reaches its northernmost separation from the celestial equator in Gemini, and the Sun’s arrival at this point marks the Summer Solstice.  The annual Geminids is a prominent annual meteor shower that peaks between December 13th and 14th. Only one Messier object, M35, is located in Gemini.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemini_(constellation)

IAU Gemini chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.
IAU Gemini chart, IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott and Rick Fienberg), June 5, 2011.

© James R. Johnson, 2014.
jim@jrjohnson.net