EVENTS AND NAKED EYE VIEWING
NOTE: All Sky Charts Courtesy of SkyGuide App Unless Otherwise noted.
March 1 (Friday) Saturn-Moon Conjunction. The beat goes on with more predawn alignments of major planets and the Moon. On February 1, the parade was (from right to left) Jupiter, Venus, the Moon, and Saturn. This month, it's Jupiter, the Moon, Venus, and Saturn. The wild card here is Venus because it travels faster than all the planets save Mercury.
For you early risers about an hour before sunrise, look above the SE horizon where you'll find Saturn meeting with the waning crescent Moon with Venus and Jupiter acting as bookends. Even though the Moon is lit in its thin crescent phase, it will still be quite bright and may wash out the relatively weaker glow of Saturn. Use binoculars or a small telescope to see Saturn within a degree to the left of the Moon. Try again on March 2 same time in the morning and you'll see Venus within 2 degrees to the right of the Moon. This is also a good way to see how far through the sky the Moon moves in one day.
March 20 (Wednesday) Spring Equinox. Here's what many who are tired of the long winter hope for. Unfortunately, for much of the United States, winter-like weather will linger on for at least another month. The Vernal Equinox is not a weather event anyway. Rather it marks the exact moment (3:58 PM MDT) when the Sun crosses the midpoint of its journey from the farthest south it can be (winter solstice) to the farthest north (summer solstice). Another way to describe it is when the Sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north (celestial equator is Earth's equator projected out into the sky). BTW...for all you word origins buffs, the word "vernal" is derived from the Latin word "vernalis" (VER-nay-lis) which means "of Spring."
March 10 (Sunday) Daylight Savings Time Begins. All local observation times that I post from now until the beginning of November will be in MDT (Mountain Daylight Time).
March 20 (Wednesday) Full Worm Moon. I cringe when I have to write about this Full Moon because I think it's at least a month too early. It's supposed to mark when earthworm casts first appear as harbingers of the warmer spring weather to come. But realistically, most of North America is still snowy during March and you're not going to see worm casts through the snow. I instead like the alternate names like the Full Crust, and Sap Moons. The Crust Moon is meaningful, especially in the Moreno Valley NM when daytime temperatures partially melt the top layer of snow. At night, that layer hardens forming a crusty surface that may or may not support your weight. The Sap Moon is a good marker for when it's time to tap maple trees for that tasty sap that makes pancakes and waffles so much fun to eat!