March Skies 2014
March nights, when clear, can be quite cold, but the rewards this month are worth braving the late-season chill. Orion, the champion of the winter skies, is starting to slip lower in the west, with Jupiter gleaming above. The evenings also feature the Big Dipper rising in the northeast, looking like a giant question mark. Follow the “handle” toward the horizon, where the star Arcturus rises by 9 o’clock. Leo the Lion climbs up into the east, followed by Mars late in the evening, and Saturn after midnight. Early risers get to enjoy Venus, low but bright in the east-southeast.
10 - The Big Dipper is now high in the northeast in the evenings. Use the curve of the handle, or the "arc", follow it toward the eastern horizon to find the star "Arc"-turus, the second brightest star in the northern skies.
11 – The line of Orion’s Belt stars, extended to the right, point to the red star Aldebaran, the red eye of Taurus, the Bull. Look more carefully at this region, and you will see a “V” shaped pattern of stars making the Bull’s face. This faint group is called the Hyades, step-sisters of the more famous Pleiades, or Seven Sisters.
12 – The brightest star in the sky, Sirius, is due south this evening at 8:11 PM EDT, one of the first stars out as twilight fades. Its brilliance is due, in part to its relative closeness, only 8.6 light years away, as well as putting out about 20 times the amount of light as our Sun.
The Mars Science Laboratory – Curiosity Rover
This is the home page for the Curiosity Rover. Explore the site to find images, videos, and volumes of science information.
The Mars Exploration Program
This is the home page for all of the on-going missions to Mars.
The Mars page of the website Nine Planets
Nine Planets is a great website featuring information about each planet (and even though there are only eight “planets”, you’ll find information about nearly all of the moons, dwarf planets, and other small solar system bodies)
Sky & Telescope's Interactive Star Chart
Follow the directions to get a chart that will show the sky for any location, at any time.
The Old Farmer's Almanac
This is a great source of sunrise and sunset tables, the Moon, its phases, as well as the viewing of planets, meteors, and eclipses throughout the year.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Each day brings a fascinating look at astronomy, and an explanation of what you are seeing.
Vermont Astronomical Society
The Vermont Astronomical Society (VAS) is a group of amateur astronomers that has been serving northern Vermont for over 45 years. Membership ranges from beginning naked-eye stargazers to advanced amateurs with home observatories and elaborate equipment.
This is the home of NASA, where science ranges from the Earth to the ends of the universe. That means there's a lot to explore!
Magazines: Sky & Telescope Magazine Astronomy Magazine
News and information about the Earth-Sun environment.
Books: There are thousands of books, and each has information that can be helpful. You might collect a few before you find one that matches your taste and way of thinking about astronomy. To help you get started, check with your local library or favorite book store for the following titles:
The Stars by H. A. Rey
Rey, well known for writing and illustrating the "Curious George" books, wrote this wonderful introduction to the night sky in the 1950s, and it remains one of the best for a wide range of ages and interests.
NightWatch by Terrence Dickinson
This ring-bound book leads the beginning star gazer through the heavens, rich in photographs, charts, and lots of practical information.
Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning by Richard Hinkley Allen
For those who love the myths and origins of star names and constellations, this is a wonderful start. Some of the interpretations have been challenged in recent years as others have looked into the subject, so it is not considered the final authority. But it is still a wealth of ideas and information.
Night Sky: A Guide to Field Identification (Golden Field Guides) by Mark R. Chartrand
This all around guide book shows you how to find the constellations, describes the nature of the heavens and the objects we see, and how to set up and use a telescope
Exploring the Night Skies with Binoculars by David Chandler
This is must, because it gives such practical and realistic expectations about what you can see.
Also of interest:
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Astronomy by Christopher De Pree and Alan Axelrod
Cosmos by Carl Sagan
365 Starry Nights by Chet Raymo
The Sky: A User’s Guide by David Levy