March 2007 night sky guide and podcast

To help you learn about the southern night sky, Sydney Observatory provides a night sky star map or chart for each month of the year (see below). We also provide a complementary audio guide of the month’s night sky (also below), presented by one of Sydney Observatory astronomy experts. You can listen online, or download the audio onto your ipod or mp3 player.

Geoff Wyatt, Sydney Observatory senior astronomy educator, tells us that March is a good month to see the constellations of Leo the Lion and also Canis Major – easily found because it includes the star, Sirius (also known as the Dog Star), the brightest in the sky.

March is also a great month to see the planets, Saturn, the jewel of the night sky, and Venus, named after the Roman Goddess of Love and Beauty. On 16 March at 6am, Mars will be easy to spot as it will be very close to the crescent Moon.

After sunset on 26 March will be a good time to look at the Moon through binoculars or a telescope; it will be a first quarter Moon, which means that long shadows are cast, enabling you to see more detail than at other times of the month.

The night sky map (reached from the link below) shows the stars, constellations and planets visible in the night sky from Sydney, Australia, and will also be usable at any other place in Australia. Special directions are given to help you locate the Southern Cross, also called Crux, for any time of the year. The locations of two nearby galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), are also given. Each month’s chart is placed online at the end of the previous month.

The monthly star maps are provided as PDF or portable document format files. To view PDF star charts you will need to download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader if it’s not on your computer already.

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