Society News and Night Sky Notes – March 2002

Society News Headlines

  • Mar 3rd – 30th Anniversary (1972) of launch of Pioneer 10 (Jupiter Flyby Mission).
  • Mar 6th – Joseph Fraunhofer born 215 years ago to-day.
  • Mar 8th – National Science Week begins. (Until March 17th).
  • Mar 9th – Mercury is 1.2° south of Uranus.
  • Mar 10th – Neptune is 4° north of the Moon.
  • Mar 11th – Uranus is 4° north of the Moon.
  • Mar 12th – Mercury is 3° north of the Moon.
  • Mar 15th – LAS Monthly Meeting at the Crypt Concert Room, RC Cathedral, Liverpool at 7pm.
  • Mar 18th – Close conjunction of asteroid 4 Vesta with Saturn (link removed as URL is invalid).
  • Mar 18th – Mars is 4° north of the Moon.
  • Mar 18th – Comet Ikeya-Zhang at Perihelion (0.592AU).
  • Mar 20th – Saturn is 0.5° of the Moon.
  • Mar 20th – Vesta is 0.5° of the Moon.
  • Mar 20th – Vernal Equinox at 19:03UTC.
  • Mar 22nd – Comet Russell II at perihelion (2.290 AU).
  • Mar 22nd – Jupiter 1.1° South of Moon.
  • Mar 22nd – LAS Sidewalk Astronomers event at Ainsdale Visitor Centre 7:30-9:30pm.
  • Mar 23rd – Wernher Von Braun’s 90th Birthday (1912).
  • Mar 25th – Asteroid 1819 Laputa will occult star P2 Cancri at approx 00:08UTC.(From Liverpool).
  • Mar 28th – Comet C/2001 C1 Linear at perihelion (5.105 AU).
  • Mar 28th – 200th anniversary (1902) of Wilhelm Olbers (link removed as URL is invalid) discovery of asteroid 2 Pallas.
  • Mar 31st – Saturn 4° north of Aldebaran.
  • Mar TBC – (Last Weekend of Month) British Summer Time Begins. (Clocks forward one hour).


Will it be cloudy to-night?, ask the The U.K. Goverment Met Office Weather service.

The Night Sky as seen from Liverpool at any time, Click Here.

The Sun and Moon

All times are in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) For Observer in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.

BST begins on MARCH th

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

            2nd       7th       12th      17th      22nd      27th     Apr 1st
SUNRISE    06:58     06:47     06:35     06:23     06:11     05:59      05:47
SUNSET     17:51     18:01     18:10     18:19     18:28     18:38      18:47

on 14th
at 02h:04m
on 22nd
at 02h:29m
on 28th
at 18h:28m
on 6th
at 01h:26m

March 20th at 19h:03UTC 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 not visible this month.


Venus is starting to increase its altitude as it moves through west towards the north. On the 15th Venus is 5° north of the Moon.


Mars shows a distinct phase asit moves away from us. At the start of the month Mars sets at 22:31 and at the end 22:38. On the 18th Mars is 5° north of the Moon.


Sky chart: Path of Vesta (and Saturn) against the sky in 2002

Sky chart: Path of Vesta (and Saturn) against the sky in 2002

4 Vesta is in close conjunction with Saturn, passing only 2′ south of the ringed planet on March 18th/19th. Both will be seen in the same eyepiece field, and looking like an extra outer Moon of Saturn.

Asteroid finder from Heavens above – Click HERE
For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter ends its retrograde motion in Gemini and starts to move from west to east again with the 1st quarter Moon passing a 18′ north at 10:40 on the 22nd. If you want to observe this event you will need a clear north-eastern horizon for the Moon will lie at an altitude of only 2°.5 in a Sunlit sky.

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 lies in Taurus and it too has resumed normal west to east motion against the background stars. On the 5th Saturn lies 1° north of the naked eye star (epsilon) Tauri and on the 20th at 09h is 26′ north of the Moon.


Both outer planets are recovering from thier respective solar conjunctions, however unfavourable for observations at this time. It will be a few more months before they are easily seen.


Pluto can be found in Ophiuchus, below and to the right of 4.0 and 4.7 magnitude stars eta 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 6th and March 22nd 2002.

The Positions have been calculated for every ten days at 00h U.T. throughout the period of March/April 2001 when Pluto's elongation angle is greater than 90°.
 Positions are for Epoch j2000.

Date                        R.A.                DEC              TRANSIT              ELG
                           h  m  s           °     '  "           Time                 °
Mar 12th                  17 09 47          -12    56 09         05h:09m              096
Mar 22nd                  17 09 52          -12    53 52         05h:24m              104
Apr  1st                  17 09 44          -12    51 24         04h:42m              113


  • No Major showers during March.


  • Mar 18th – Comet C/2002 C1 (IKeya-Zhang) at Perihelion (0.592 AU).
  • Mar 22nd – Comet Russell II at Perihelion ( 2.290 AU).
  • Mar 28th – Comet C/2001 C1 (Linear) at Perihelion (5.105) AU.

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


  • Mar 3rd at 01h:43m:10s Reappearance of Kappa Virginis (Mag ).
  • Mar 5th at 03h:12m:17s Disappearance of beta2 Scorpii (Mag ).
  • Mar 5th at 03h:12m:20s Disappearance of beta1 Scorpii (Mag ).