Yukon Sky Report – March 2023
By: Shale Davis

The Moon

The Moon has a relatively uneventful month ahead. Here are some important dates to know…..

  • Full Moon March 7th
  • Third Quarter March 14th
  • New Moon March 21st

The Planets

Venus– an incredibly inhospitable world Venus now dominates the early evening sky, appearing to the south west following sunset.

Although amateur equipment rarely reveals any atmospheric features it is usually possible to notice that Venus is only partially illuminated like the phases of the Moon.

Mars– Mars has dimmed alot since it’s opposition in December so I thought I’d take a moment to update you on humanity’s robotic endeavours on the Red Planet. On February 18th 2021 NASA’s next gen rover Perseverance touched down on the martian surface. Since that time it has been hard at work completing many of the missions scientific goals.

Nestled within Perseverance’s underside was a small helicopter named Ingenuity. This marked the first ever attempt at aerodynamic flight on another world. Shortly after landing on Mars the small craft (about the size of a shoe box not including it’s rotors) was set down on the ground. Now more then two years later it has exceeded every expectation completing 45 successful flights. In fact Ingenuity is no longer just a proof of concept vehicle and has become a valuable tool in perseverance’s hunt for signs of life on Mars.

The samples that the duo collect will hopefully one day make their way back to earth after a series of followup missions in partnership the European Space Agency.

Bonus: Asteroid Ceres – Having long ago held the title of Planet, Ceres is the largest asteroid in the Solar System. Although only a small fraction of the mass of Pluto, Ceres still contains around 25% the mass of the entire Asteroid Belt. Today Ceres is classified as a Dwarf Planet and has even been visited by a NASA spacecraft.

Just like the planets Ceres regularly reaches a point known as opposition. At this time Ceres is closest to the Earth and therefore it’s the best time to observe it. Opposition for Ceres will be occurring on the 21st at which time it can be found close to Leo’s Tail. If you plan on observing this particular object you will need at least binoculars as it is never visible to the unaided eye.

Jupiter– Beginning the month extremely close to the planet Venus, Jupiter is sinking toward the sun. By the end of March it will be far to close to observe.

Clear Skies

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