Society News and Night Sky Notes – March 1998

Society News Headlines

  • Mar 1st – Croxteth Star Party ends to-day.
  • Mar 1st – The National Solar Observatory (NSO) have set-up SOLIS. The Synoptic Optical Long-term Investigations of the Sun.
  • Mar 1st – Saturn is 1° North of Moon.
  • Mar 2nd – Comet Kowal 2 is at Perihelion – (1.397AU).
  • Mar 2nd – New Galileo images of Jupiter’s Moon Europa. Images Here.
  • Mar 2nd – European astronomers discover planet formation material around dying star. Click Here.
  • Mar 2nd – Vesta is 0.1° South of Moon.
  • Mar 3rd – Spanner in the works as the Russian Mir crew cancel spacewalk.
  • Mar 4th – Comet Shoemaker-Levy 3 is at Perilhelion – (2.817AU).
  • Mar 4th – Lt Col Eileen Collins will become the first space shuttle Commander, for mission in December.
  • Mar 4th – The first stop for looking for life on Jupiter’s moon Europa, could be Antarctica. Click Here.
  • Mar 5th – Aldebaran is 0.2° South of Moon.
  • Mar 5th – European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a long term lunar exploriation program called Euromoon 2000.
  • Mar 5th – Dr Don Yeomans is to be project scientist on asteroid sample return mission for launch in Jan 2002.
  • Mar 5th – Initial Science results from Lunar Prospector released to-day by NASA.
  • Mar 6th – Lunar water discovery could lead to Lunar soil retriever mission. Click Here.
  • Mar 6th – Pex Hill Observatory – Public Open Night 7pm – 9pm.
  • Mar 6th – Dr Stephen Hawking is guest lecturer at U.S. White House.
  • Mar 7th – Images from the Feb 26th Solar Eclipse Here.
  • Mar 7th – William Herschel Society AGM and Annual Lecture, Bath.
  • Mar 7th – Venus is 4° North of Moon.
  • Mar 8th – Images from Galileo’s 4th orbit of Jupiter are now on the Internet. Click Here.
  • Mar 8th – BBC 1 Sky at Night with Patrick Moore. “February’s Solar Eclipse”(Rept on Sat March 14th).
  • Mar 9th – Hubble Space Telescope on the Asteroid Trail.
  • Mar 9th – New Advanced Meteosat weather satellite unveiled – due for launch in late 2000.
  • Mar 10th – Comet C/1992 J2 Meunier-Dupouy is at Perihelion – (3.058AU).
  • Mar 10th – Mark Armstrong discovers his second Supernova, this time in galaxy NGC 6627.
  • Mar 10th – At 21:21 UT to-day NASA declared the Mars Pathfinder lander was “DEAD”, after 5 months of trying to make contact.
  • Mar 10th – SNOE spacecraft begins to return date.
  • Mar 11th – Mercury 1.2° North of Mars.
  • Mar 11th – Geologists to study Earthquakes from Earth Orbit.
  • Mar 11th – CONGRATULATIONS to Liverpool A.S. member Eric Strach, who has recorded, on video, Shadow Bands, at the Feb 26th Total Solar Eclipse.
  • Mar 12th – Pluto is Stationary.
  • Mar 12th – NASA’a Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility spacecraft is now completed. Due for launch from the Space shuttle in Dec 1998.
  • Mar 12th – Danish team to recover meteorites from Greenland in June.
  • Mar 12th – Launch of Landsat -7 spacecraft is delayed until July.
  • Mar 12th – New impact craters on Earth suggest that dinosaurs were killed off.
  • Mar 12th – Galaxy 0140+326RDI (link removed as URL is invalid) has become the most distant object yet discovered. It is 12.22 billion light years away!.
  • Mar 12th – Scientists have evidence to suggest that a series of comet impacts took place 214 million years ago.
  • Mar 12th – The Mars Global Surveyor Spacecraft has returned images that indicate a large ancient Ocean was present on the red planet.
  • Mar 12th – Asteroid XF 11 could make us ware hard hats on 26th October 2028.
  • Mar 13th – NASA to launch satellite by the year 200 which will provide continuous views of the Earth
  • Mar 13th – Ancient creater chain found on Earth’s surface.
  • Mar 13th – Comet Hale-Bopp holds the key to the creation of comet ices.
  • Mar 13th – Mars Global Surveyor observes full evolution of Martian dust storms.
  • Mar 13th – Juno is 0.9° North of Moon.
  • Mar 13th – Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon (link removed as URL is invalid), at 04:20am UT.
  • Mar 13th – RAS meeting at Saville Row, London starts at 4pm.
  • Mar 13th – SET’98 week begins and ends on March 22nd. Events up and down the country.
  • Mar 14th – Raw data from the now dead Mars Pathfinder mission available on the Internet.
  • Mar 15th – Bright fireball seen over parts of Southern England. Reports suggest that it was “as bright as the full Moon”!.
  • Mar 16th – Aspiring astronauts get to ride on the “vomit comet”.
  • Mar 18th – New agreement protects Arecibo Radio Telescope astronomy frequency from interference.
  • Mar 19th – Venus is 3° North of Uranus.
  • Mar 19th – NASA to launch the Total Solar Irradiance Mission (TSIM) in 2001, to study the Sun/Earth interactions.
  • Mar 19th – NASA to launch the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer mission to study the Sun’s atmosphere.
  • Mar 20th – HST takes a look at NGC 7027 in Cygnus.
  • Mar 20th – Vernal Equinox at 19:55pm UT.
  • Mar 20th – LAS monthly meeting. Speaker Ann Bonell “What Happened to the Astronauts”?.Venue T.B.C.
  • Mar 20th – Tiny teeth shed light on ancient comets. . Click Here.
  • Mar 20th – Mercury at greatest longation (link removed as URL is invalid) : 19° East.
  • Mar 20th – SPA Alston Hall Astronomy Weekend begins.
  • Mar 22nd – Hubble captures the heart of star birth.
  • Mar 22nd – Chondrites Meteorite fall in Texas, USA.
  • Mar 23rd – Neptune 3° South of Moon.
  • Mar 24th – Launch of the SPOT 4 spacecraft To-day.
  • Mar 24th – Uranus 3° South of Moon.
  • Mar 24th – Venus is only 0.09° South of Moon.
  • Mar 26th – Jupiter is 0.8° South of Moon. Lunar Occultation at 11h:00m in DAYLIGHT!.
  • Mar 26th – Sky & Telescope information for above HERE
  • Mar 26th – VLT UT1 First Light. Click Here for news.
  • Mar 25th – BAA SGM followed by Ordinary Meeting – Micheal Covington “Whats New in Astrophotography”. Venue Saville Row, London.
  • Mar 25th – EL NINO is blamed for a longer day – 0.6 milliseconds longer.
  • Mar 25th – NASA begins work on < a href=””>Space Infrared Telescope Facility, (SIRTF).
  • Mar 26th – Building a Dobsonian Telescope plans on the internet.
  • Mar 26th – New space mission will look back to the Big Bang.
    ESA Planck Mission.
  • Mar 26th – The Comet Hale-Bopp Home Page has now collected 5,000 images. Taken from July 1995 – March 1998.
  • Mar 26th – NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor to begin observations of Viking and Mars Pathfinder landing sites.Click Here.
  • Mar 26th – Dust devils have been found on images returned by Mars pathfinder spacecraft.
  • Mar 27th – Mercury Stationary.
  • Mar 27th – Tasco Sales Inc is to buy Celestron International. (This is no April Fool joke!)
  • Mar 27th – Pex Hill Observatory – Members meeting 7pm – 9pm.
  • Mar 27th – Venus at greatest elongation: 47° West.
  • Mar 27th – Very rare star atlas found in Manchester A.S. Library.Press release.
  • Mar 27th – A Bull’s Eye for MERLIN and HST. Click Here.
  • Mar 27th – HST pictures for study of Comet Hyakutake released.
  • Mar 27th – Milky Way Galaxy may be smaller than we thought. Contact Dr M.Merrifield – for more information.
  • Mar 28th – SPA meeting at London Planetarium at 10:00am.
  • Mar 28th – River Severn – river bore on view this weekend.
  • Mar 29th – Galileo spacecraft to encounter Jupiter’s moon Europa.
  • Mar 30th – The Hunt is on for more Extrasolar planets. Click Here.
  • Mar 30th – Mercury is 4° North of Mars.
  • Mar 30th – Vesta is 1.2° North of Moon.
  • Mar 30th – RAS National Astronomy Meeting at University of St Andrews, Scotland.(ends April 3rd).
  • Mar 31st – UK astronomers find faint objects beyond Pluto. More Information Here.
  • Mar 31st – Quasar discovered with X-Rays is long ago and far away. Click Here.
  • Mar 31st – Oldest astronomical megalith alignment discoved in Southern Egypt by Science Team. Click Here.


Will it be cloudy to-night?, ask the The U.K. Goverment Met Office Weather service.
To make your own star chart fo your location at any time,Click Here.

The Sun and Moon

All times are in GMT the same as U.T. Times For Observer in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.


March 20th marks the date of the Spring Equinox when the Sun crosses the celestial equator in Pisces heading North.March is also the month when clocks are traditionally advanced by one hour in Britian to take us into British Summer Time, (BST). Therefore for this month you will have to add one hour to all times indicated on this web page to convert GMT/UT times to BST.

Latitude 53 degs 24 mins North.
Longitude +3.0 degs West.

              2nd          7th        12th      17th      22nd      27th       April 1st
SUNRISE    06:58        06:46      06:34     06:22     06:10     05:58       05:46
SUNSET     17:52        18:01      18:11     18:20     18:29     18:38       18:47

on 28th
at 03h:15m


on 5th
at 06h:42m


on 13th
at 04h:35m


on 21st
at 07h:39m

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse ~ March 13th 1998



Mercury is very well placed in the evening sky during March. Look to the West between the 17th and 23rd and you will find this bright planet over 10° above the horizon at the time of Civil Twilight. This Table should help in observations. On the 10th Mercury is just under 1° North of Mars.


The Altitude of Venus stats to decline slightly as the angle of the ecliptic changes with respect to the horizon. It also starts to dim slightly but it should be visible almost up until the time of Sunrise. On the 24th at 19:00 Venus is 28′ North of the Moon.


Mars is briefly associated with Mercury this month. This practically, may be the last opportunity of locating Mars until after solar conjunction in May.

MARSWATCH – latest observations of the red planet.


Vesta is 0.1° South of the Moon on March 2nd, and 1.2° North of Moon on March 30th.
is 0.9° North of Moon on March 13th. It reaches opposition on March 19th at Mag 9.1.

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter will soon reappear in the dark sky after last month’s solar conjunction but before then there is an interesting daylight event to be aware of. At 11h:00m GMT on the 26th Jupiter will be occulted by the bright limb of the thin cresent Moon. The Moon will only be 24°: away from the Sun so be careful when sweeping the sky as you don’t want the SUN by accident! Looking at the unshielded SUN directly WILL CAUSE PERMANENT EYE DAMAGE.

Launched in October 1989, the Galileo Jupiter Probe entered orbit around the great planet on December 7th 1995. The Project Galileo Homepage will give you up-to-date information and the very latest images returned.


Saturn is approaching solar conjunction and is unfavourably placed for observations, setting at 19h:30m at the end of the Month.


Both outer planets are starting to appear in the morning sky but will be better seen in April and May.


Pluto will be out of view until the end of March.


There are no showers during March.




  • March 3rd at 21h:21m Disappearance of 5 Tauri.
  • March 4th at 20h:23m Disappearance of 71 Tauri.
  • March 4th at 21h:33m Disappearance of Theta1 Tauri.
  • March 4th at 21h:36m Disappearance of Theta2 Tauri.
  • March 4th at 22h:26m Disappearance of 80 Tauri.
  • March 4th at 22h:35m Disappearance of 81 Tauri.
  • March 4th at 23h:03m Disappearance of 85 Tauri.