Astronomy Guide March 2023

Dear Stargazer Friends,

I hope you have been well. For the northern hemisphere, Spring is just around the corner with Vernal Equinox on 20 March 2023 at 2124 UTC (which, at the same time, marks the beginning of Autumn in the southern hemisphere).

While the “winter constellations” are still visible in the first part of the night (W), in the eastern sky, the “spring constellations” are now dominating the night sky. Ursa Major is now high up in the sky, pointing to the red giant star Arcturus in Boötes. After midnight, Spica (constellation of Virgo) and Vega (constellation of Lyra) will show a great display. Now starts the “galaxy season” with, among others, the fascinating galaxy clusters in Coma Berenices and Virgo. 

The Virgo Cluster, around 70 million light years (Mly) away, has around 2’500 bright “members” with the elliptical galaxy Messier 49 its most prominent. Coma Berenices has around 1000 bright members, estimated to be 350 Mly away from Earth. There are many more interesting objects such as Messier 104 – the “Sombrero Galaxy” – in Virgo as well as several galaxies in Ursa Major such as Messier 81, Messier 82 and Messier 101 (a so-called face-on spiral galaxy). 

Venus is now a very prominent evening object. It will appear close to Jupiter on 1 and 2 March (look W). Jupiter will set earlier and earlier now, becoming unobservable towards the end of the month.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is currently in the constellation of Taurus and will be visible in the constellation of Orion around mid-March. Its magnitude has diminished already and is expected to be around mag 11 mid-March. So, unfortunately, the best time to take pictures of it is now over.

Best wishes and clear skies,


Coma Cluster Abell 1656 – picture by Isabel Streit 2022

Moon phases March

Times for Bern, Switzerland (CET)

Full Moon07 March, 13:40
Third Quarter15 March, 03:08
New Moon21 March, 18:23
First Quarter29 March, 04:32 

Meteor Showers March

Nothing special to report this month.

Messier 104 – by Isabel Streit 2022


For more detailed information check

Mercury will be very difficult if not impossible to observe in in March. It is currently in the constellation of Aquarius and will appear in Pisces starting 17 March. With a bit of luck, and binoculars or a telescope, you might see it 1.5° north of Jupiter on 28 March. 

Venus appears in the constellation of Pisces and will move into Aries on 17 March. On 1 and 2 March, it will appear less than 1° apart from Jupiter. In the early evening of 23 March, the Waxing Crescent Moon will be visible between Venus and Jupiter (W).On 31 March, it will appear close to Uranus.

Mars still appears in the constellation of Taurus and, starting 27 March, will move to Gemini. On 28 March, the Waxing Moon will appear close to Mar. 

Jupiter appears in the constellation of Pisces and will set earlier as the month progresses. Towards the end of the month, it will become unobservable.

Saturn will not be visible in March. It will make a comeback in May appearing in the constellation of Aquarius.

Uranus is still in the Constellation of Aries and can be observed in the early evening. Towards the end of the month, it will become unobservable.

Neptune will not be observable in March.

Phenomena not to miss in March

Galaxy Cluster in Virgo
Virgo Cluster – picture by Isabel Streit 2022

Deep Sky Objects to observe now: Virgo Cluster of Galaxies in Virgo; Leo Triplet (M66, M65 & NGC 3628), Coma Cluster in Coma Berenices. Ursa Major: several galaxies such as Messier 81, Messier 82 and Messier 101 and the as well as the “Owl nebula” (Messier 97), a planetary nebula. And many, many more fascinating objects.

01-02Early eveningVenus and Jupiter will appear less than 1° apart (W)
0302:10Pollux 1.7°N of Moon
0600:08Regulus 4.5°S of Moon
1400:21Antares 1.6°S of Moon
2021:24Vernal Equinox 
2219:54Jupiter 0.5°N of Moon: Occn.
2523:42Pleiades 1.9°N of Moon

Bright Stars

15 March 2023


NameMag.RiseTransitElev.SetAng. Size
IC 10 (Starburst Galaxy)9.5013h21m+77°31’51.68″+0°05’00.00″
M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)3.442h44m13h43m+84°26’53.23″0h42m+2°05’24.00″
M 498.3018h53m1h32m+50°56’18.86″8h11m+0°09’15.00″
M 51 (Whirlpool Galaxy)8.102h32m+89°50’05.17″+0°09’03.00″
M 589.6618h44m1h40m+54°45’18.26″8h36m+0°05’18.00″
M 609.8018h51m1h46m+54°29’24.86″8h40m+0°06’42.00″
M 61 (Swelling Spiral Galaxy)9.6519h01m1h24m+47°24’47.25″7h47m+0°06’09.00″
M 63 (Sunflower Galaxy)8.5915h02m2h18m+84°57’36.05″13h34m+0°09’54.00″
M 64 (Black Eye Galaxy)8.5218h14m1h59m+64°37’03.74″9h44m+0°07’55.14″
M 66 (Leo Triplet)8.9217h21m0h22m+55°55’43.10″7h24m+0°06’39.00″
M 81 (Bode’s Galaxy)6.9422h58m+67°59’39.43″+0°20’30.00″
M 82 (Cigar Galaxy)8.4122h58m+67°22’49.42″+0°07’45.00″
M 83 (Southern Pinwheel Galaxy)7.5423h07m2h40m+13°08’15.31″6h12m+0°12’12.00″
M 8510.0018h01m1h28m+61°07’28.75″8h54m+0°06’18.00″
M 86 (Faust V051)8.9018h27m1h28m+55°52’54.06″8h29m+0°07’21.00″
M 87 (Virgo Galaxy)8.6318h35m1h33m+55°19’38.46″8h31m+0°07’00.00″
M 899.7518h39m1h38m+55°29’33.14″8h37m+0°04’54.00″
M 909.5418h37m1h39m+56°05’57.12″8h41m+0°06’57.00″
M 94 (Croc’s Eye Galaxy)8.2415h04m1h53m+84°02’52.87″12h42m+0°10’09.00″
M 959.7316h51m23h46m+54°38’18.52″6h41m+0°03’00.00″
M 969.2516h53m23h49m+54°45’14.89″6h45m+0°06’24.00″
M 99 (Virgo Cluster Pinwheel)9.8718h13m1h21m+57°21’04.53″8h29m+0°05’03.00″
M 100 (Blowdryer Galaxy)9.3518h10m1h25m+58°45’24.31″8h40m+0°06’51.00″
M 101 (Pinwheel Galaxy)7.863h05m+82°42’41.05″+0°27’51.00″
M 102 (Spindle Galaxy)9.894h09m+81°16’29.87″+0°04’48.00″
M 104 (Sombrero Galaxy)8.0020h29m1h42m+31°19’46.65″6h55m+0°06’06.00″
M 1059.7616h50m23h50m+55°30’54.51″6h49m+0°05’06.00″
M 1068.411h21m+89°46’08.55″+0°12’54.00″
M 1108.072h28m13h41m+84°51’53.17″0h53m+0°16’27.00″
NGC 1479.5013h34m+88°18’43.57″+0°10’30.00″
NGC 1859.2013h39m+88°29’00.95″+0°10’51.00″
IC 342 (Maffei 1 Group)9.1016h49m+68°47’10.13″+0°21’09.00″
NGC 24038.9020h39m+71°23’56.24″+0°17’06.00″
NGC 29979.4119h24m22h47m+11°49’40.93″2h10m+0°07’46.02″
NGC 3115 (Spindle Galaxy)9.9017h37m23h07m+35°14’24.25″4h37m+0°04’51.00″
NGC 3344 (Sliced Onion Galaxy)9.8615h41m23h46m+67°50’54.94″7h50m+0°04’31.05″
NGC 39239.8021h13m0h53m+14°10’54.81″4h33m+0°03’33.69″
NGC 4244 (Silver Needle Galaxy)10.0015h27m1h20m+80°44’01.72″11h12m+0°09’15.00″
NGC 4449 (The Box Galaxy)9.401h30m+87°01’06.96″+0°05’18.00″
NGC 4631 (Whale Galaxy)9.1916h46m1h44m+75°28’16.78″10h42m+0°06’00.87″
NGC 4753 (Dust Devil Galaxy)9.9519h56m1h55m+41°44’44.29″7h53m+0°03’24.30″
NGC 50689.9021h55m2h21m+21°55’56.82″6h48m+0°05’23.91″
NGC 5102 (Iota’s Ghost)9.6523h50m2h24m+6°26’00.88″4h59m+0°05’15.54″
NGC 6946 (Fireworks Galaxy)9.609h38m+76°42’46.35″+0°10’39.00″
PGC 29488 (Regulus Dwarf Galaxy)10.0016h12m23h10m+55°15’00.04″6h08m+0°10’05.67″
15 March 2023

Messier Objects

NameMag.RiseTransitElev.SetAng. Size
M 1 (Crab Nebula)8.4010h50m18h38m+65°04’41.50″2h26m+0°06’00.00″
M 36.2018h20m2h46m+71°18’42.58″11h13m+0°09’00.00″
M 29 (Cooling Tower Cluster)6.6023h20m9h25m+81°38’59.15″19h30m+0°05’00.00″
M 31 (Andromeda Galaxy)3.442h46m13h45m+84°26’03.38″0h44m+2°05’24.00″
M 328.082h56m13h45m+84°01’54.09″0h33m+0°07’30.00″
M 33 (Triangulum Galaxy)5.725h51m14h36m+73°49’39.85″23h21m+0°55’09.00″
M 34 (Spiral Cluster)5.2015h45m+85°52’55.49″+0°12’30.00″
M 35 (Shoe-Buckle Cluster)5.1011h11m19h12m+67°22’28.19″3h13m+0°12’30.00″
M 36 (Pinwheel Cluster)6.009h26m18h40m+77°11’24.97″3h53m+0°05’00.00″
M 37 (January Salt-and-Pepper Cluster)5.609h56m18h56m+75°35’45.16″3h55m+0°07’30.00″
M 38 (Starfish Cluster)6.409h01m18h32m+78°54’24.51″4h03m+0°07’30.00″
M 394.6010h33m+88°24’08.44″+0°15’30.00″
M 40 (Winnecke 4)9.651h26m+78°59’29.18″
M 41 (Little Beehive Cluster)4.5015h20m19h49m+22°18’17.12″0h18m+0°19’30.00″
M 42 (Great Orion Nebula)4.0012h57m18h38m+37°41’28.09″0h19m+1°15’00.00″
M 43 (de Mairan’s Nebula)9.0012h57m18h38m+37°48’43.20″0h20m+0°17’30.00″
M 44 (Beehive Cluster)3.1014h09m21h44m+62°37’42.84″5h19m+0°35’00.00″
M 45 (Pleiades)1.208h49m16h50m+67°14’18.53″0h50m+1°50’00.00″
M 466.1015h47m20h45m+28°12’40.15″1h43m+0°10’00.00″
M 474.4015h40m20h40m+28°32’25.63″1h40m+0°12’30.00″
M 485.8015h38m21h17m+37°14’40.36″2h56m+0°15’00.00″
M 498.3018h55m1h34m+50°56’09.31″8h12m+0°09’15.00″
M 50 (Heart-Shaped Cluster)5.9014h38m20h06m+34°41’49.10″1h34m+0°07’30.00″
M 51 (Whirlpool Galaxy)8.102h34m+89°33’28.96″+0°09’03.00″
M 52 (Cassiopeia Salt-and-Pepper Cluster)6.9012h27m+75°13’51.58″+0°08’00.00″
M 537.7018h50m2h17m+61°06’10.42″9h44m+0°06’30.00″
M 589.6618h46m1h42m+54°45’07.58″8h38m+0°05’18.00″
M 609.8018h53m1h48m+54°29’13.95″8h42m+0°06’42.00″
M 63 (Sunflower Galaxy)8.5915h04m2h20m+84°56’33.79″13h36m+0°09’54.00″
M 64 (Black Eye Galaxy)8.5218h16m2h01m+64°36’48.94″9h46m+0°07’55.14″
M 66 (Leo Triplet)8.9217h23m0h24m+55°55’35.83″7h25m+0°06’39.00″
M 67 (Golden-Eye Cluster)6.9014h59m21h55m+54°45’46.12″4h51m+0°12’30.00″
M 74 (Phantom Galaxy)9.397h23m14h39m+58°57’31.04″21h55m+0°10’00.00″
M 77 (Cetus A)8.879h40m15h45m+43°09’01.89″21h50m+0°06’33.00″
M 78 (Casper the Friendly Ghost Nebula)8.3012h45m18h50m+43°05’06.92″0h54m+0°07’00.00″
M 798.5614h19m18h27m+18°35’35.41″22h35m+0°04’48.00″
M 81 (Bode’s Galaxy)6.9423h00m+67°59’18.66″+0°20’30.00″
M 82 (Cigar Galaxy)8.4123h00m+67°22’29.73″+0°07’45.00″
M 8510.0018h03m1h29m+61°07’16.99″8h56m+0°06’18.00″
M 86 (Faust V051)8.9018h29m1h30m+55°52’43.68″8h31m+0°07’21.00″
M 87 (Virgo Galaxy)8.6318h36m1h35m+55°19’27.98″8h33m+0°07’00.00″
M 899.7518h41m1h40m+55°29’22.39″8h39m+0°04’54.00″
M 909.5418h39m1h41m+56°05’46.18″8h43m+0°06’57.00″
M 926.406h22m+86°06’26.03″+0°07’00.00″
M 93 (Butterfly Cluster)6.2016h36m20h48m+19°10’48.04″0h59m+0°05’00.00″
M 94 (Croc’s Eye Galaxy)8.2415h06m1h55m+84°02’04.31″12h44m+0°10’09.00″
M 959.7316h53m23h48m+54°37’39.72″6h43m+0°03’00.00″
M 969.2516h55m23h51m+54°44’35.89″6h46m+0°06’24.00″
M 97 (Owl Nebula)9.900h19m+82°03’06.71″+0°03’21.00″
M 99 (Virgo Cluster Pinwheel)9.8718h15m1h23m+57°20’54.16″8h31m+0°05’03.00″
M 100 (Blowdryer Galaxy)9.3518h12m1h27m+58°45’13.38″8h42m+0°06’51.00″
M 101 (Pinwheel Galaxy)7.863h07m+82°42’01.14″+0°27’51.00″
M 102 (Spindle Galaxy)9.894h10m+81°15’51.20″+0°04’48.00″
M 1037.4014h36m+76°10’44.98″+0°03’00.00″
M 1059.7616h52m23h52m+55°30’14.82″6h51m+0°05’06.00″
M 1068.411h23m+89°34’36.86″+0°12’54.00″
M 1108.072h30m13h43m+84°51’00.21″0h55m+0°16’27.00″
15 March 2023


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