March Sky and ISS

By Chuck McPartlin

March comes in like a Lion, and goes out like a Lamb. In Santa Barbara, where the weather rarely goes to extremes, it means that Leo is rising in the East, and Aries is setting.

Daylight Saving Time started on Sunday morning, March 13. Spring officially starts a week later with the Vernal Equinox, at 8:33 AM PDT on March 20.

In the predawn sky of March 28, early risers can get a great view to the SE when the waning crescent Moon joins a triangle formed by Venus, Mars, and Saturn.

From March 14 through March 22, the International Space Station will be cruising through our evening skies. Its orbit may change from time to time, especially now that they have to dodge more space junk, so to get the latest and most complete predictions, visit Heavens Above.

On Monday, March 14, the ISS will make a brief 35 second pop-up between 9:11 PM and 9:12 PM PDT in the SW, in Eridanus, the River.

On Tuesday, the station will be the brightest for this sequence, rising at 8:23 PM in the SSW, passing along our ocean horizon through Eridanus, below Lepus, above bright Sirius, below Procyon, then fading into our shadow as it approaches the Moon in the face of Leo, the Lion, in the ESE at 8:27 PM.

Wednesday will have two appearances. The first will be a lower but longer version of Tuesday’s pass, starting at 7:36 PM in the SSW, continuing below the Moon to above Denebola, the tail of Leo, and vanishing in dim Coma Berenices at 7:42 PM in the ENE. It will show up again on its next orbit, rising in the W at 9:13 PM in the head of Cetus, through dim Aries the Ram, and disappearing in the feet of Andromeda in the NW at 9:15 PM.

Thursday’s pass will be higher and longer, rising in the WSW at 8:24 PM in Eridanus, and going through Cetus, Aries, between Perseus and Andromeda to Cassiopeia, then just below Polaris and through the bowl of the Little dipper asterism to set in Draco, in the NNE at 8:30 PM.

The best pass will be nearly overhead on Friday, starting at 7:36 PM in the SW in Fornax the Furnace, along Eridanus to the face and horns of Taurus, through Auriga and dim Camelopardalis, and tracing the bowl and handle of the Big Dipper asterism as it ends in the NE at 7:42 PM. It will show up again at 9:15 PM in the NW to pass very low over our mountains through Andromeda, Cassiopeia, and Cepheus, where it will end in the NNW at 9:17 PM.

On Saturday, the ISS will make a slightly higher and longer repeat, rising at 8:26 PM in the WNW, and setting in Draco in the NNE at 8:30 PM.

On the evening of the Vernal Equinox, the station will again be slightly higher, starting in the W at 7:37 PM, and ending in the NNE at 7:42 PM.

The ISS will skip a day, then make a low pass from NW to N for a minute, starting at 7:39 PM.

Evening passes will return at the end of March into the first week of April.


Written by macpuzl

Outreach Coordinator for the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit

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