Society News and Night Sky Notes – March 2000

Society News Headlines

  • Mar 1st – Mercury at Inferior Conjunction.
  • Mar 3rd – Neptune 0.4° North of Moon.
  • Mar 4th – Venus 0.07° South of Moon.
  • Mar 4th – Uranus 0.7° South of Moon.
  • Mar 4th – Comet 112P/Urata-Niijima at Perhelion – (4.384AU)
  • Mar 8th – Mars 5° North of Moon.
  • Mar 9th – Jupiter 4° North of Moon.
  • Mar 10th – Saturn 3° North of Moon.
  • Mar 11th – Comet Lovas II at perhelion (1.454AU).
  • Mar 11th – LAS Sidewalk Astronomers event at Wepre Country Park, Connahs Quay.
  • Mar 13th – Mercury Stationary.
  • Mar 14th – Percival Lowell’s 145th Birthday.(1855).
  • Mar 15th – Mercury 2° North Venus.
  • Mar 15th – Moon at Perigee.
  • Mar 16th – Caroline Lucretica Herschel’s 250th Birthday. (1750).
  • Mar 16th – Pluto is Stationary.
  • Mar 17th – National Science Week begins. (Ends Sunday March 26th).
  • Mar 17th – LAS Monthly Meeting at Crypt Concert Room, RC Catheral at 7pm.
  • Mar 18th – BAA Deep Sky Section Meeting, Clanfield, Clanfield Village Hall, 10:30am.
  • Mar 20th – Vernal Equinox at 07:25UT.
  • Mar 22nd – Ceres at oppostion – Mag 6.9.
  • Mar 25th – 345th Anniversary (1655) of Christiaan Huygen’s discovery of Saturn’s moon Titan.
  • Mar 27th – Moon at Apogee.
  • Mar 28th – Mercury at Greatest elong 28° West.
  • Mar 29th – BAA Special General Meeting (link removed as URL is invalid), Savile Row, London.
  • Mar 30th – Neptune 0.7 North Moon.
  • Mar 31st – Uranus 1° North of Moon.
  • Mar TBC – British Summer Time Begins.


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.

BST begins on MARCH 28th

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

           1st       6th       11th      16th      21st      26th       31st
SUNRISE    06:59     06:48     06:36     06:24     06:12     06:00      05:48
SUNSET     17:50     18:00     18:09     18:18     18:27     18:37      18:46
on 6th
at 05h:18m
on 13th
at 07h:00m
on 20th
at 04h:45m
on 28th
at 00h:22m

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 the clocks are traditionally advanced by one hour in Britain to take us into British Summer Time (BST). As far as this page is concerned, you will have to added one hour to any times stated to obtain BST.



Mercury is at Inferior Conjunction on the 1st and is therefore unobservable.


Venus is close too the Sun for observation and will not become favourable again until September 2000 when it reappears in the evening sky.


Mars is heading towards Jupiter and Saturn in the evening sky and sets at 21h:05m at the end of the month.

MARSWATCH – latest observations of the red planet.


On March 22nd the minor planet Ceres will be at opposition in the constellation of Virgo. Usually asteroids are quite faint but once in a while one of the larger minor planets brightens enough to become visible using binoculars. Virgo is quite a large constellation and contains the bright star Spica. Part of the constellation looks like a upturned bowl and its the star gamma Virginis were the bowl appears to pivot. Long exposure photography (5 mins plus) of the area undertaken every few days will record Ceres’ motion against the background stars.

  • 7 Iris at mag 8.1 is close to M67 in Cancer during March and April.
  • 2 Pallasat mag 7.4 is in Monoceros during March, but is just above the Head of Hydra by early May.

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.
Click HERE for Bright Minor Planets Ephemeridesfor 2000.


Jupiter lies only 52° away from the Sun now and is moving closer to it all the time. Soon it will be lost in the glare of the evening twilight and there are very few celestial bodies which appear close by to break the monotony of the faint constellation of Cetus, North of which it passes this month. On the 9th at 20hrs Jupiter lies 5° North of the Crescent Moon.

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 only marginally better than Jupiter and soon it too will be lost in the Solar glare but still sets over three hours later than the Sun. On the 10th (at 11h) the Moon passes 4° South.


Both outer planets are unfavorable for observations at this time.


Pluto can be found in Ophiuchus, between 4.6 magnitude stars 20 Ophiuchi and Zeta Ophiuchi. The best time to look for the planet is when the Moon is not around. With this in mind the dates given below, calculated as either side of the New Moon, maybe used as a guide for planning an observing session.

Best seen between March 1st and March 13th.

The Positions have been calculated for every ten days at 00h U.T. throughout the period of March 2000 when Pluto's elongation angle is greater than 90°.
 Positions are for Epoch 2000.
Date                        R.A.                DEC              TRANSIT              ELG
                           h  m  s           °     '  "     Time                 °
Mar 11th                  16 51 32          -11    18 55         05h:47m              098
Mar 21st                  16 51 32          -11    16 06         05h:07m              107
Mar 31st                  16 51 19          -11    13 03         04h:28m              117


  • No Major showers during March.


  • Mar 4th – Comet (Urata-Niijima) at Perihelion (4.384 AU).
  • Mar 11th – Comet (Lovas II) at Perihelion (1.454 AU).

Plus these pages will give daily and weekly reports of this and other Comets progress.


  • Mar 12th at 22h:12m Disappearance of 104 Tauri (Mag 4.9).
  • Mar 13th at 20h:21m Disappearance of Chi 2 Orionis (Mag 4.6).
  • Mar 14th at 19h:43m Disappearance of Zeta Geminorum (Mag 4.0).