Celestial events in the skies for the week of March 7-13, 2017 as compiled for The Loafer by Mark D. Marquette.
Here it comes again…that 23-hour Sunday that Daylight Saving Time robs us of an hour of precious sleep—so don’t make Saturday night a big party! The hour of 2 am Sunday becomes 3 am with tick of a clock’s second hand as we spring forward to the Vernal Equinox on March 22. The Moon is dancing across the landscape awakening from winter, it’s full phase Sunday called the Worm Moon for the critters wriggling, Sap Moon for trees stretching and Equinox Moon for the season.
Tuesday, March 7
On this 1969 date in space history, NASA flew for the first time the Lunar Module moonship in Earth orbit, practicing docking maneuvers with the Apollo 9 Command Module. Gemini veteran astronaut Jim McDivitt, 87, stayed in the mother ship named “Gumdrop” while in the odd-looking moonship named “Spider” were astronauts Rusty Schweickart, 81, and future moonwalker David Scott, 84. The success made possible four months later the historic Apollo 11 landing.
Wednesday, March 8
The mighty hunter Orion dominates the southern skies with the brightest star in the skies, Sirius, at his feet in the Big Dog constellation, Canis Major. The bright stars of Orion’s knees and shoulders, and his bisecting belt of three stars are the most recognized star pattern–next to the Big Dipper.
Thursday, March 9
Speaking of which, the Big Dipper is making its annual spring appearance standing on its handle of three stars at 8:30 pm. The rest of the constellation Ursa Major, the Big Bear, is sprawling ahead of the hindquarters “asterism” of the famous seven stars, called the Plow in Great Britain.
Friday, March 10
The gibbous Moon spends the next two days crossing the belly of Leo the Lion, a constellation that is a sure sign of Spring as it is ready to roar above the eastern horizon.
Saturday, March 11
Though it’s bright, the Full Moon won’t blot out the eight, 1st magnitude stars that ring the sky in what amateur astronomers call the Winter Octagon. Look around the night sky and you’ll see them.
Sunday, March 12
Full Moon today, as well as DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME BEGINS. Daylight lasts until about 7:30 pm, but it’s dark in the morning again until 7:45 am. Remember, a 23-hour day today! The Sun enters the constellation Pisces; at least that’s what the facts are, contrary to the fake science of astrology—which erroneously has the Sun entering the Fishes on Feb. 23.
Monday, March 13
On this 1781date in space history, William Herschel discovered the sixth planet Uranus from the backyard observatory in his mansion in Bath, England. He was the greatest telescopic astronomer to just use his eyes, discovering thousands and cataloguing thousands of double stars, nebula, galaxies and star clusters—though the exact nature of these objects would await photography, pioneered by his son, John.