As a nice way to celebrate the memory of the late Leonard Nimoy, over the coming week astrophotographers have a chance to image the 13-mile-wide minor planet named after Mr. Spock, the Star Trek character he shall always be most closely associated with.
Exactly a week after its close encounter with dazzling Venus, outer planet Uranus lies close to Mars on the evening of Wednesday, March 11th — but you’ll need to time your observation carefully in the dusk twilight twilight to ensure success.
If you feel that tonight’s rising Full Moon is that bit smaller than usual then you’d be right, for this is a so-called Micromoon — one that occurs close to the point in the Moon’s orbit where it is furthest from the Earth.
On Wednesday, March 4th, planets Venus and Mars will be easy naked-eye objects in the western sky at dusk, but in a telescope you’ll have the added bonus of spotting gas giant Uranus very close to Venus.
The waxing gibbous Moon passes close by the Solar System’s largest planet, Jupiter, on the nights of March 2nd and 3rd. Jupiter was at opposition last month, but it’s still big, bright and offers much to see in a telescope.
Now that the Moon has returned to evening skies, observers have to wait a little longer to view Comet Lovejoy in a dark sky. Fortunately, it’s a circumpolar object for observers in the British Isles, near the familiar W-shaped constellation asterism of Cassiopeia during March.
Currently the third brightest celestial object in the night sky of the British Isles after the Moon and Venus, Jupiter presents a cornucopia of phenomena for observers with medium to large telescopes tonight.