What’s Up! March 2022

A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth

Compiled by Steve Sawyer

[Take the March 2022 Quiz – Comets and Meteors]

So what’s on this month?

It’s the start of meteorological spring on the 1st and the vernal spring equinox on the 20th of March.  In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the moment in time when the Sun stands directly above the equator while crossing from the south to the north and is called the vernal equinox (also known as the spring equinox, March equinox or northward equinox). It is the moment winter ends and spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere (where nearly 90% of the world’s population live).


On the day of an equinox, day and night are of approximately equal length all over the world, as the Earth’s rotational axis is neither tilted away from nor towards the Sun. At all other times, the length of day and night will be different.


Around the time of an equinox is a good time to spot Aurora.  During the equinox, if there are periods of high solar geomagnetic electrical disturbance the charged particles emitted from the sun are more likely to align with the Earth’s geomagnetic field and enter the atmosphere generating auras.



Somewhere with a clear view of the Northern horizon and the further North the better!

Locally, the coast (Whitby), North York Moors, Sutton Bank are good places. Slightly further afield Whitley Bay and Banborough are known for their dark skies.  And of course a clear sky!

Onto this month’s viewing:


March Objects

The Sun

At the time of writing towards the end of February the sunspot count is low and so is the likelihood of geomagnetic storms. Hopefully, sunspot activity might pick up over March.

Check the solar forecast here.

SpaceWeather and  NASA SWPC websites


The Moon

In March the full moon rises on the 18th and is named the worm moon, other names include Paschal Moon, Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Chaste Moon, Sugar Moon, and Sap Moon

The new moon is on the 2nd March 1735 GMT, which means the sky will be nice and dark so tonight is a good time to take images of any DSO’s you’re hunting.

On Thursday the 3rd March, a very thin (1.3%-lit) waxing Crescent Moon may be seen very low above the Southwestern horizon (using optical aid). If you have a clear view of the southwest horizon down to ground level then this might be possible to see it! (See the Crescent Moon Watch page for more details.)

The best days to observe the moon will be at the beginning and towards the end of the month, avoiding the brightest moons in the middle of the month.

A full lunar calendar can be found on the Moon Info website.


The Planets

This month most of the planets are morning objects, it’s possible to see  Venus, Saturn, Mars and the Moon together.  Times are early morning before sunrise, around 5 am.  On the 31st of March, all 3 planets can be seen together within the view of a pair of 7×50 binoculars.



A morning planet but not well placed to be seen this month being too close to the sun.



A morning planet, rising a couple of hours before sunrise and the start of the month and around 80 minutes at the end of the month. Venus reaches dichotomy this month which is a term used when a planet (or our moon) reaches the 50% phase (half-lit, half-shadow).



Visible in the morning sky, very low on the horizon



Too close to the morning sun to be visible this month.



Morning planet, but too close to the sun to be seen at the month’s start.  Saturn will join Mars and Venus as a visible morning planet towards the end of the month.



It’ll be the last chance to observe Uranus after March.  Uranus can be found 30 degrees about the west-southwest horizon at the beginning of the month, but slowly descends over the course of the month, falling to just 8 degrees above the horizon at the end of the month.


Meteor Showers




Whilst there are comets to view all of these are at least mag 9 with some being mag 13

Have a look at the link here if you fancy a challenge.


Deep Sky Objects (DSOs)

Early in the month, the constellation of Cepheus lies almost due north, with the distinctive ‘W’ of Cassiopeia to its west. Cepheus lies across the border of the Milky Way and is often described as like the gable-end of a house or a church tower and steeple. Despite the large number of stars revealed at the base of the constellation by binoculars, one star stands out because of its deep red colour. This is μ Cephei, also known as the Garnet Star, because of its striking colour. It is a truly gigantic star, a red supergiant, and one of the largest stars known. It is about 2,400 times the diameter of the Sun, and if placed in the Solar System would extend beyond the orbit of Saturn. (Betelgeuse, in Orion, is also a red supergiant, but it is ‘only’ about 500 times the diameter of the Sun.)


Dunlop, Storm; Tirion, Wil; Royal Observatory Greenwich; Collins Astronomy. 2022 Guide to the Night Sky: A month-by-month guide to exploring the skies above Britain and Ireland (p. 47). HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.


Man’s Space Activities

Spotting the International Space Station

Date Visible Max Height Appears Disappears
Tue Mar 1, 4:32 AM 3 min 44° 44° above SE 10° above E
Tue Mar 1, 6:05 AM 6 min 55° 12° above W 10° above ESE
Wed Mar 2, 3:46 AM 1 min 17° 17° above E 10° above E
Wed Mar 2, 5:19 AM 5 min 58° 31° above WSW 10° above ESE
Thu Mar 3, 4:33 AM 3 min 51° 51° above SE 10° above E
Thu Mar 3, 6:06 AM 6 min 41° 10° above W 10° above SE
Fri Mar 4, 3:46 AM 1 min 19° 19° above E 10° above E
Fri Mar 4, 5:19 AM 5 min 49° 26° above WSW 10° above ESE
Sat Mar 5, 4:33 AM 3 min 53° 53° above SSE 10° above ESE
Sun Mar 6, 3:47 AM 1 min 19° 19° above ESE 10° above ESE
Sun Mar 6, 5:20 AM 4 min 34° 24° above WSW 10° above SE
Mon Mar 7, 4:34 AM 3 min 39° 39° above S 10° above SE
Tue Mar 8, 3:48 AM 1 min 16° 16° above ESE 10° above ESE
Tue Mar 8, 5:21 AM 3 min 21° 19° above SW 10° above SSE
Wed Mar 9, 4:35 AM 2 min 23° 23° above S 10° above SSE
Thu Mar 10, 3:49 AM < 1 min 11° 11° above SE 10° above SE
Thu Mar 10, 5:22 AM 1 min 11° 11° above SW 10° above SSW

Ref: Spot the Station website (York, UK)


Useful Resources

Top 10 Winter Sky Targets for Skywatchers | Space
and of course the sky at night magazine!

Astronomy and Space Quiz

Compiled by John Rowland


Results for February 2021 Quiz

We’re pleased to announce the two winners, each answering all 12 questions correctly! They are Andrew Downie and Paul Thornley. Congratulations must go to both these game fellows, and particularly Andrew, who has been one of the winners on at least one previous occasion.

Also, a “Well done” should be sent out to Mike Suttill and Christopher Gallagher who both scored 10 out of 12. The average score was 8.9, with the remaining scores ranging from 7 to 5. Thanks to all who gave it a go.

For details of the Answers, follow this link: Whats_Up_February_2022_Quiz_Answers


This Month’s Quiz – Comets and Meteors

Quiz icon12 multi-choice questions for beginners up to experts level.
Please click on the link below to take the quiz.
Follow the March 2022 Quiz link here!
And Good Luck!

The winner(s) will be posted on the website (“Leave a Reply”) and also at the next YAS Meeting after the 15th.

Thanks for your interest, and we wish you clear skies and good viewing. Stay safe!

Steve Sawyer and John Rowland!


3 thoughts on “What’s Up! March 2022

  1. Congratulations must go to both Andrew Downie and Paul Thornley for once again sharing top spot in the quiz, with 9 correct answers.
    I think Andrew has become our quiz champion, being or sharing top spot now for at least 3 months running.

    Well done all who tried, whatever your score. The main thing is to give it a go and keep that brain in good condition!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.