Astronomy News for the Month of March 2022

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In this Newsletter...

Background screen credits: NGC5775
Imaged March 21/22, 2001
using the 16" Kitt Peak Visitors Center telescope
as part of the Kitt Peak Advanced Observing Program.

"The Moon and planets are out to play by March 28 - including Jupiter, which sits low in twilight. Those with a clear eastern horizon may spot it." Astronomy Magazine, March 2022, p. 39.

The Month At-A-Glance
A calendar displaying the daily astronomical events.

18 day moon

The Moon



Moon/Planet Pairs

For reference: The Full Moon subtends an angle of ~0.5°.

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The Planets & Dwarf Planets

Planetary Reports generated by "TheSkyX" software. These reports provide predicted data for the planets for the first of each month for the current year. The rise and set times for the Sun and the Moon for each day of the month as well as meteor shower radiants are also included in the reports. These reports have been optimized for the Denver, Colorado location, however, the times will be approximate for other locations on Earth.

(All times are local unless otherwise noted.)

Planetary Highlights for March

"Venus continues to dominate in the morning, along with a retinue of fellow planets gracing the predawn sky. Mars, Saturn, and elusive Mercury provide lots to observe. Jupiter is largely hidden from view after its conjunction with the Sun. Meanwhile, the evening sky carries William Herschel's great discovery of 1781, the planet Uranus, easily visible in binoculars." Astronomy Magazine, March 2022, P. 32.


Rises at 5:39 a.m. on the 1st and about 6:48 a.m. by month's end. Look for Mercury to the east about 30 minutes before sunrise. Mercury moves from the constellation of Capricornus into Pisces shining at magnitude -0.1 on the 1st.


Rises at 4:06 a.m. on the 1st and about 4:49 a.m. by month's end. Venus is at greatest western elongation (47° ) on the 20th. Look for Venus low to the east before sunrise. Venus moves from the constellation of Sagittarius into Capricornus shining at magnitude -4.6 on the 15th.


  • Daylight Saving Time begins for most of the U.S. at 2 a.m. on the 13th.
  • The Vernal EquinoxVernal Equinox occurs at 11:33 a.m. EDT on the 20th.
  • Mars

    Rises at 4:31 a.m. on the 1st and about 4:43 a.m. by month's end. Look for Mars low to the southeast before sunrise. Mars moves from the constellation of Sagittarius into Capricornus shining at magnitude 1.2 on the 15th.


    Is in conjunction with the Sun on the 5th. Jupiter sets at 7:19 p.m. on the 1st. After conjunction, Jupiter returns to the morning sky. Jupiter rises about 6:02 a.m. by month's end. Jupiter is lost in the evening and morning twilight glow all month and is not visible until late in the month. Jupiter is in the constellation of Aquarius shining at magnitude -2.0.


    Rises at 5:41 a.m. on the 1st and about 4:48 a.m. by month's end. Look for Saturn low to the southeast before sunrise. Saturn is in the constellation of Capricornus shining at magnitude 0.7.


    Sets at 10:51 p.m. on the 1st and around 9:56 p.m. by month's end. Look to the southwest soon after sunset to spot Uranus. Uranus is in the constellation of Aries shining at magnitude 5.8.


    Is in conjunction with the Sun on the 13th. Neptune sets at 6:44 p.m. on the 1st. After conjunction, Neptune returns to the morning sky. Neptune rises about 6:08 a.m. by month's end. Neptune is lost in the evening and morning twilight glow all month. Neptune is in the constellation of Aquarius shining at magnitude 7.8.

    Dwarf Planets


    Sets at 12:53 a.m. on the 1st and about 12:36 a.m. by month's end. Look for Ceres towards the southwest in the early evening. Ceres is in the constellation of Taurus shining at magnitude 8.7.


    Rises at 4:39 a.m. on the 1st and about 3:40 a.m. by month's end. Pluto is in the constellation of Sagittarius shining at magnitude 15.2.

    As always, good luck at spotting Neptune, Ceres and Pluto, a large telescope and dark skies will be needed.

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    Astronomical Events

    Meteor Showers

  • There are a few minor meteor showers but none that produce rates much higher than 2-5 per hour, except the Gamma Normids that extend over the period of March 11 to 21, with the maximum occurring on March 16. The maximum rate reaches about 5-9 meteors per hour.

    Meteor Shower Radiant Report

    For more information about Meteor Showers, visit Gary Kronk's Meteor Showers Online web page.

    Meteor Scatter (or Meteor burst communications) - "is a radio propagation mode that exploits the ionized trails of meteors during atmospheric entry to establish brief communications paths between radio stations up to 2,250 kilometres (1,400 mi) apart." Tune your shortwave or your HF amateur radio to 54.310 MHz SSB and see if you can hear any pings. Try other frequencies as well... 6m FT8 digital - 50.313 Mhz & 50.276 Mhz, JP-65 digital mode and the carrier frequencies of the lower VHF bands for TV channels 2, 3 & 4.

    Meteor Rx How-To by Terry Bullett (WØASP)

  • Comets

  • COMET 19P/Borrelly travels through the constellations of Aries and Perseus this month. Shining around 10th magnitude, Comet Borrelly will be a challenge to spot with a 4 inch telescope. Larger apertures and dark skies are recommended.

  • For information, orbital elements and ephemerides on observable comets, visit the Observable Comets page from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

    For more information about Comets, visit Gary Kronk's webpage.

  • Eclipses

    Solar Eclipses

  • No solar eclipse activity this month.

    Lunar Eclipses

  • No lunar eclipse activity this month.

  • Observational Opportunities

  • Look for Uranus in the evening.
  • Look for Mars Venus, Mercury, and Saturn in the early morning before sunrise.
  • Jupiter joins the morning crowd late in the month.

  • Asteroids

    (From west to east)
    • Iris is in the constellation of Gemini.
    • Massalia is in the constellation of Cancer.

    • Information about the Minor Planets can be found at the Minor Planet Observer website.

    IOTA Logo

  • Information on various occultations can be found by clicking the IOTA logo.
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    Subscriber Gallery

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    Member Meteor Sightings

    In this section I will post meteor, fireball, etc sightings that have been published on the American Meteor Society's web site. I want to make this an active section of the web pages and newsletter and would like to publish the links to member sightings. If you have any published sightings, please provide me with the links and I will post them here for all to enjoy.

    Event ID Date/Time Location Observer Link
    3871-2015 2015-11-13 01:55 MST CO Charles N 3871a
    3587-2015 2015-11-22 17:38 MST CO Kevin S 3587aw
    3829-2015 2015-12-05 18:06 MST CO Burness A 3829a
      986-2020 2020-02-21 22:20 MST CO Lukas S 986
    3716-2020 2020-07-24 23:22 MDT CO Lukas S 3716
    4774-2021 2021-08-13 21:57 MDT UT Lukas S 4774
    7044-2021 2021-10-28 20:37 MDT CO Burness A 249058

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    Planetary/Lunar Exploration Missions

    (Excerpts from recent JPL mission updates)

    JPL Latest News
    The Latest from Space

    JPL Latest News

    February 24, 2022
    Astronomers Find Two Giant Black Holes Spiraling Toward a Collision

    Full Article & Images

    "A supermassive black hole 9 billion light-years away appears to have a companion black hole orbiting around it. As the orbit shrinks, the pair gets closer to merging.

    Supermassive black holes millions to billions of times the mass of our Sun lie at the heart of most galaxies, and astronomers are eager to know how these behemoths came to be. While they think most resulted from at least one merger between two smaller supermassive black holes, scientists lacked the observations that could give insight, since only one pair of supermassive black holes on the way to a merger had been found."

    Read the latest news and discoveries from JPL's dozens of active space missions exploring Earth, the solar system and worlds beyond.

    Past, Present, Future and Proposed JPL Missions.

    For special JPL programs and presentations in your area visit the JPL Solar System Ambassador web site.

    James Webb Space Telescope
    February 16, 2022
    Studying the Next Interstellar Interloper with Webb

    Full Article & Images

    "One of the most exciting findings in planetary science in recent years is the discovery of interstellar objects passing through our solar system. So far, astronomers have confirmed only two of these interlopers from other star systems — 1I/'Oumuamua in 2017 and 2I/Borisov in 2018 — but many, many more are thought to exist. Scientists have had only limited ability to study these objects once discovered, but all of that is about to change with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

    "The supreme sensitivity and power of Webb now present us with an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the chemical composition of these interstellar objects and find out so much more about their nature: where they come from, how they were made, and what they can tell us about the conditions present in their home systems," explained Martin Cordiner, principal investigator of a Webb Target of Opportunity program to study the composition of an interstellar object."

    More information on the James Webb Space Telescope mission is available at The James Webb Space Telescope website.

    The public can follow the mission on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

    February 10, 2022
    NASA Telescope Spots Highest-Energy Light Ever Detected From Jupiter

    Full Article & Images

    "The planet's auroras are known to produce low-energy X-ray light. A new study finally reveals higher-frequency X-rays and explains why they eluded another mission 30 years ago.

    Scientists have been studying Jupiter up close since the 1970s, but the gas giant is still full of mysteries. New observations by NASA's NuSTAR space observatory have revealed the highest-energy light ever detected from Jupiter. The light, in the form of X-rays that NuSTAR can detect, is also the highest-energy light ever detected from a solar system planet other than Earth. A paper in the journal Nature Astronomy reports the finding and solves a decades-old mystery: Why the Ulysses mission saw no X-rays when it flew past Jupiter in 1992."

    Images from NASA's JunoCam.

    More information on the Juno mission is available at: Juno and Mission Juno.

    The public can follow the Juno mission on Facebook and Twitter.

    New Horizons
    February 10, 2022
    On Kuiper Belt Object Arrokoth, New Horizons Team Puts Names to the Places

    Full Article & Images

    "Three prominent features on the Kuiper Belt object Arrokoth — the farthest planetary body ever explored, by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft — now have official names.

    Proposed by the New Horizons team and approved by the International Astronomical Union, the new feature names follow a theme set by "Arrokoth" itself, which means "sky" in the Powhatan/Algonquin Native American language."

    New Horizons gallery

    Find New Horizons in the iTunes App Store.

    For more information on the New Horizons mission - the first mission to the ninth planet - visit the New Horizons home page.

    January 13, 2022
    Citizen Scientists Spot Jupiter-like Planet in NASA TESS Data

    Full Article & Images

    "Tom Jacobs of Bellevue, Washington, loves treasure hunts. Since 2010, the former U.S. naval officer has participated in online volunteer projects that allow anyone who is interested — "citizen scientists" — to look through NASA telescope data for signs of exoplanets, planets beyond our solar system.

    Now, Jacobs has helped discover a giant gaseous planet about 379 light-years from Earth, orbiting a star with the same mass as the Sun. The Jupiter-size planet is special for astronomers because its 261-day year is long compared to many known gas giants outside our solar system. The result also suggests the planet is just a bit farther from its star than Venus is from the Sun. The finding was published in the Astronomical Journal and presented at an American Astronomical Society virtual press event on Jan. 13."

    For more information on the TESS mission, visit the Latest Tess Stories page.

    Past, Present, Future and Proposed JPL Missions

    Visit JPL's mission pages for current status.

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    Mars Missions

    Be A Martian

    Mars website mobile version is here!

    Mars Daily Weather Report

    Mars on the Go! NASA Be A Martian Mobile App
    If you want the latest news as it happens, try our Be A Martian app.
    Download on Mobile Devices
    Android | iPhone | Windows Phone

    JMARS is an acronym that stands for Java Mission-planning and Analysis for Remote Sensing. It is a geospatial information system (GIS) developed by ASU's Mars Space Flight Facility to provide mission planning and data-analysis tools to NASA's orbiters, instrument team members, students of all ages, and the general public.

    Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

    "The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) began in 1948, a decade before NASA. We are the world's only research institute to have sent instruments to all eight planets and Pluto.

    LASP combines all aspects of space exploration through our expertise in science, engineering, mission operations, and scientific data analysis. As part of CU, LASP also works to educate and train the next generation of space scientists, engineers and mission operators by integrating undergraduate and graduate students into working teams. Our students take their unique experiences with them into government or industry, or remain in academia to continue the cycle of exploration.

    LASP is an affiliate of CU-Boulder AeroSpace Ventures, a collaboration among aerospace-related departments, institutes, centers, government labs, and industry partners."

    February 25, 2022
    'Go for launch'—the next GOES satellite to include instrument built at CU Boulder

    Full Article & Images

    "The newest addition to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) weather-observing and environmental-monitoring satellite system is slated to launch from the Kennedy Space Center on March 1. The third satellite in the GOES-R+ series includes an instrument built by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at CU Boulder that will serve as the nation's "eyes" on the Sun."

    February 3, 2022
    The MAVEN Team Playlist

    "Ever wonder what the MAVEN team is listening to while studying the Red Planet? We asked the scientists and engineers behind the MAVEN mission what they listen to while working and what they thought MAVEN's favorite songs might be. This led to an amazing playlist with songs of all different genres. Listen along to MAVEN's favorite hits!

    Listen on Spotify!"

    Visit LASP and MAVEN for more information.

    Mars 2020 - Perseverance
    February 18, 2022
    NASA's Curiosity Rover Measures Intriguing Carbon Signature on Mars

    Full Article & Images

    "The type of carbon is associated with biological processes on Earth. Curiosity scientists offer several explanations for the unusual carbon signals.

    After analyzing powdered rock samples collected from the surface of Mars by NASA's Curiosity rover, scientists have announced that several of the samples are rich in a type of carbon that on Earth is associated with biological processes."

    Learn more about the Mars 2020 (Perseverance) mission.

    Mars Science Laboratory - Curiosity
    January 18, 2022
    NASA's Curiosity Rover Measures Intriguing Carbon Signature on Mars

    Full Article & Images

    "The type of carbon is associated with biological processes on Earth. Curiosity scientists offer several explanations for the unusual carbon signals.

    After analyzing powdered rock samples collected from the surface of Mars by NASA's Curiosity rover, scientists have announced that several of the samples are rich in a type of carbon that on Earth is associated with biological processes.

    While the finding is intriguing, it doesn't necessarily point to ancient life on Mars, as scientists have not yet found conclusive supporting evidence of ancient or current biology there, such as sedimentary rock formations produced by ancient bacteria, or a diversity of complex organic molecules formed by life."

    For information about NASA's partnership with Foursquare.

      Mars Rover Landing - Free for the Xbox 360 (requires Kinect)

      Visit the Mars Science Laboratory page.

    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission
    February 14, 2022
    How Do Spacecraft Deal with Dust Storms on Mars?

    Full Article & Image

    "A large dust storm on Mars, nearly twice the size of the United States, covered the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet in early January 2022, leading to some of NASA's explorers on the surface hitting pause on their normal activities. NASA's Insight lander put itself in a "safe mode" to conserve battery power after dust prevented sunlight from reaching the solar panels. NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter also had to postpone flights until conditions improved. A fleet of NASA orbiters monitor Martian dust storms like this one and serve as lifelines to Earth by relaying data from the rovers and lander on the ground back to the team. This includes the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MAVEN, and Odyssey. Odyssey, while facing its technical issue, was able to recover quickly enough to come to InSight's aid during the dust storm."

    All of the HiRISE images are archived here.

    More information about the MRO mission is available online.

    Mars Odyssey Orbiter
    April 7, 2021
    NASA's Odyssey Orbiter Marks 20 Historic Years of Mapping Mars

    Full Article and Images

    "NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft launched 20 years ago on April 7, making it the oldest spacecraft still working at the Red Planet. The orbiter, which takes its name from Arthur C. Clarke's classic sci-fi novel "2001: A Space Odyssey" (Clarke blessed its use before launch), was sent to map the composition of the Martian surface, providing a window to the past so scientists could piece together how the planet evolved."

    Daily Mars Odyssey THEMIS Images
    Can be found at the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) website.

    The Odyssey data are available through a new online access system established by the Planetary Data System.

    Visit the Mars Odyssey Mission page.

    Journey to Mars - InSight - Revealing the Heart of Mars
    January 11, 2022
    NASA's InSight Sees Power Levels Stabilize After Dust Storm

    Full Article and Images

    "Updated Feb. 15, 2022, at 2:35 p.m. PST (5:35 p.m. EST):

    Several weeks after the end of a dust storm on Mars, the solar panels of NASA's InSight lander are producing almost as much power as they did before the storm. That power level should enable the lander to continue science operations into the summer.

    The team anticipates that continued dust accumulation will progressively diminish the spacecraft's overall power budget in the months ahead and has been carefully conserving energy by turning on science instruments for limited periods of time. Having completed all primary mission science objectives, the goal now is to enable the spacecraft to operate through the end of its extended mission in December. A passing whirlwind that removes dust or a new dust storm that increases the dust accumulation could alter the timeline."

    Interactive selection of raw images taken by the cameras aboard InSight.

    Learn more about the InSight Mission.

    Mars Missions Status

    New Mars missions are being planned to include several new rover and sample collection missions. Check out the Mars Missions web page and the Mars Exploration page.

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    Astronomy Links and Other Space News

    (If you have a link you would like to recommend to our readers, please feel free to submit it.)

    Green Laser

    Colorado Astronomy Links

    Radio Astronomy Links

    Other Astronomy Links

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    Astronomical Lexicon

    Definitions of astronomical terms. Many of the astronomical terms used in this newsletter are defined here.

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    UT Logo

    Read the Universe Today Newsletter by clicking on the logo.

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    Acknowledgments and References

    Much of the information in this newsletter is from Astronomy® Magazine (Kalmbach Publishing), JPL mission status reports, the Internet, "Meteor Showers - A descriptive Catalog" by Gary W. Kronk, Sky & Telescope web pages, and other astronomical sources that I have stashed on my bookshelves.

    The author will accept any suggestions, constructive criticisms, and corrections. Please feel free to send me any new links or articles to share as well. I will try to accommodate any reasonable requests. Please feel free to send questions, comments, criticisms, or donations to the email address listed below. Enjoy!

    More Acknowledgements and References

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