NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With warmer days, and nights, in the forecast, it’s a great time of year to stargaze. While March does often have showers in the forecast, there are usually plenty of clear nights to check out what’s going on up above. Here are a few night sky events to watch out for!
All Month – Track the ISS
One of the great things about the International Space Station is that you usually don’t have to wait too long if you want to check it out. It just takes some planning. The ISS will be viewable in the morning hours throughout much of March. For when and where to look, NASA has a nifty website where you can Spot The Station.
Saturday, March 13 – The New Moon
The lunar calendar’s first phase, the new moon, occurs when the sun and moon are aligned. The moon is invisible from Earth, creating the month’s darkest sky—perfect conditions to observe stars and see the Milky Way. That is if the clouds don’t get in the way!
Sunday, March 14 – Daylight Saving Time
Get ready to “spring forward” one hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 14th! While many of us are looking forward to the later sunset times, stargazers may be a little put out that their stargazing window is being pushed later into the evening. No matter how you feel about the start of Daylight Saving Time, don’t forget to change those clocks!
Saturday, March 20 – The Spring Equinox
March 20th marks the official start of Spring! During the vernal equinox, the sun passes the equator traveling north, marking the start of Spring. Days and nights are of equal length on the Equinox, and the sun rises due east and sets due west.
Saturday, March 20 – Check out the “Lunar X”
Did you know that you can see an “X” on the moon when conditions are just right! It’s called the Lunar X, and you’ll be able to see this feature on March 20th. The Lunar X is visible when the moon is in its first-quarter phase, but you’ll only have a window of a few hours to see it, and you’ll need either strong binoculars or a telescope.
The Lunar X happens when the craters Purbach, la Caille, and Blanchinus are illuminated from a certain angle of sunlight, they form the small but very obvious X-shape. The X is predicted to be the most visible at 5:30 p.m. CDT. However, you will be able to see it through 7 p.m. CDT. Even with the sun still shining, you’ll be able to see this extraordinary lunar feature.
Sunday, March 28 – The Full Worm Moon
Did you know that there are four supermoons on the way for 2021? The first one is set for March 28th. Supermoons are full moons that appear slightly bigger and brighter than a typical full moon because of their closer orbit to Earth. Another interesting thing about 2021’s supermoons is that they will all happen consecutively. So if you miss this month’s supermoon, we’ll also see one in April, May, and June!