Observations

March 2009 night sky guide and podcast

To help you learn about the southern night sky, Sydney Observatory provides an audio guide/podcast, transcript of that audio, and a sky map or chart each month.

This month’s audio sky guide is presented by Geoffrey Wyatt, Sydney Observatory’s Senior Astronomy Educator. You can listen online, or download the audio onto your ipod or mp3 player. Links to the audio and the star map are below.

For much more information and detail in star charts for months from December 2008 until December 2009 inclusive, plus information about the Sun and twilight and the Moon and tides, and a host of other fascinating astronomical information, you can purchase the 2009 Australian sky guide by Sydney Observatory’s Dr Nick Lomb. Available online and at Sydney Observatory and Powerhouse Museum shops.

The free monthly night sky map PDF (below) shows the stars, constellations and planets visible in the night sky from anywhere in Australia. To view PDF star charts you will need to download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader if it’s not on your computer already.

March 2009 night sky map

Read the transcript.

5 responses to “March 2009 night sky guide and podcast

  • Last night on the 17 April 2009 in between and 11pm and 12am there was a bright white light slightly dimming and then getting brighter just above the horizon and it seemed to be floating up and down and spiraling at first I thought it was a planent or a bright star but around 11.46am the light seemed become dull and then disappeared. Can you please explain what it was?

  • Hi,
    My mother went for a walk on Tuesday 31st March between 8-9pm and saw a bright light in the sky describing it to be about two fists away from the moon. She is completely confused as to what it may have been and her friend is completely convienced it was a divin sign in the sky. Could you shed some light?
    This was seen in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

    • Hello Michelle. On 31 March 2009 the bright star Aldebaran was above and to the right of the Moon. It was 10° from the Moon and that would be roughly equivalent to two fists held sideways at arm’s length. That may have been what your mother saw.

  • Hello. Last night in Sydney (facing south), at about 2am my friend and I noticed a bright star that appeared to be flickering red and blue. With binoculars the flickering between the colours was even more apparent. I’ve often noticed this star because its size, brightness and flickering makes it stand out. I’m just wondering if anyone knows which star this is, and also what causes the alternating flickering colours?

    • Hello Clair. You are probably talking about the star Achernar that is almost due south and just above the horizon at 2 am at the moment. When a star is so close to the horizon then fluctuation in the atmosphere will bend the different colours in the star’s light in different ways. Hence you will see the flickering colours that you and your friend saw.

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