Charlotte Astronomy and Sky Watcher Highlights in the week ahead.

Thank you to NASA ambassador Tony Rice for providing the weekly Astronomical highlights for Charlotte.

You can connect with Tony right here


  • Throughout March Jupiter will be prominent high in the SE sky after sunset and remaining visible almost all night.
  • Venus will also be very bright in the glow of the setting sun.
  • Will also be visible at sunset below Venus. The planets will have more angular distance between them as the week goes on.
  • Saturn will be high in the Southern sky before dawn.
  • Thu Mar 05 13:05:23: full moon

March full moon names

  • Fish Moon (Colonial American)
  • Sleepy Moon (Chinese)
  • Windy Moon (Cherokee)
  • Big Famine Moon (Choctaw)
  • Moon When Eyes Are Sore from Bright Snow (Dakota Sioux)
  • Moon of Winds (Celtic)
  • Chaste Moon (English Medieval)
  • Death Moon (Pagan)
  • Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Sap Moon, Lenten Moon (Farmers Almanac)

Planet visibility

body (phase)risetransit (alt)setconstellation
Mercury (67%)05:52:5710:55:50 (33°)15:59:05Capricornus
Venus (86%)08:10:2014:27:28 (54°)20:43:14Pisces
Moon (90%)15:42:2021:55:25 (64°)04:58:37Cancer
Mars08:00:3214:12:37 (52°)20:25:19Cetus
Saturn01:01:4305:55:51 (31°)10:49:58Scorpius
Jupiter15:45:5722:53:58 (67°)05:57:35Cancer

Sample rise/set times for 03/02/15

Satellite passes

International Space Station (ISS)

  • poor pass begins Sun 2015-03-08 07:19:28 from the SSW (192°) reaches 25°, lasts 5 minutes
  • outstanding pass begins Tue 2015-03-10 07:08:28 from the SW (221°) reaches 61°, lasts 6 minutes
  • poor pass begins Wed 2015-03-11 06:16:14 from the S (190°) reaches 29°, lasts 5 minutes
  • good pass begins Thu 2015-03-12 06:57:57 from the WSW (247°) reaches 56°, lasts 6 minutes
  • outstanding pass begins Fri 2015-03-13 06:06:53 from the SSW (208°) reaches 72°, lasts 4 minutes
  • poor pass begins Sat 2015-03-14 05:15:38 from the E (84°) reaches 34°, lasts 1 minute
  • poor pass begins Sat 2015-03-14 06:48:13 from the W (277°) reaches 29°, lasts 5 minutes
  • good pass begins Sun 2015-03-15 05:56:50 from the NNW (338°) reaches 49°, lasts 3 minutes

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

no visible HST passes predicted during this period

See Heavens Above for the latest pass predictions. Satellite pass gradings are based on altitude reached and duration of pass. Higher altitude passes are closers to the observer and generally brighter as a result. Satellites other than ISS are much more difficult to spot.

Moon Phases

Thu 2015-03-05 13:05:23full
Fri 2015-03-13 13:47:55last quarter
Fri 2015-03-20 05:36:10new
Fri 2015-03-27 03:42:35first quarter



DateRiseSolar noon (alt)Setsunlight
Mon 2015-03-0206:5512:35 (42.50°)18:1511 hrs 19 min
Tue 2015-03-0306:5312:34 (42.88°)18:1611 hrs 22 min
Wed 2015-03-0406:5212:34 (43.26°)18:1711 hrs 25 min
Thu 2015-03-0506:5012:34 (43.65°)18:1811 hrs 27 min
Fri 2015-03-0606:4912:34 (44.04°)18:1911 hrs 30 min
Sat 2015-03-0706:4712:34 (44.43°)18:2011 hrs 33 min
Sun 2015-03-0807:4613:33 (44.82°)19:2211 hrs 35 min
Mon 2015-03-0907:4413:33 (45.21°)19:2311 hrs 38 min
Tue 2015-03-1007:4313:33 (45.60°)19:2411 hrs 41 min
Wed 2015-03-1107:4113:33 (45.99°)19:2511 hrs 43 min
  • gained 0:23:55 (hh:mm:ss) of daylight over this period
  • daylight (HH:MM): 11:31
  • mean: sunrise 07:13 sunset 18:44
  • max: sun angle 45.99°


Mon 2015-03-0205:2319:46
Tue 2015-03-0305:2119:47
Wed 2015-03-0405:2019:49
Thu 2015-03-0505:1819:50
Fri 2015-03-0605:1719:51
Sat 2015-03-0705:1519:52
Sun 2015-03-0806:1320:53
Mon 2015-03-0906:1220:54
Tue 2015-03-1006:1020:55
Wed 2015-03-1106:0920:56

Astronomical Seasons

  • vernal equinox: Fri 2015-03-20 18:45
  • summer solstice: Sun 2015-06-21 12:38

Meteor Showers

Meteor Showers Underway this period

nameratingstartpeakendzhr*speed (mi/s)qualitymoon at peakparent body
Theta CentauridsminorJan 23Tue Feb 10Mar 12366↑ Wed 12:07 AM 02/11/15
55% full
↓Wed 11:08 AM
Gamma NormidsminorFeb 25Sat Mar 14Mar 22656bright↑ Sun 3:36 AM 03/15/15
28% full
↓Sun 2:17 PM

Next Major Meteor Showers

nameratingstartpeakendzhr*speed (mi/s)qualitymoon at peakparent body
PerseidsmajorJul 17Wed Aug 12Aug 2410059bright↑ Thu 5:37 AM 08/13/15
0% full
↓Thu 7:24 PM
GeminidsmajorDec 07Sun Dec 13Dec 1712035medium↑ Mon 9:39 AM 12/14/15
7% full
↓Sun 7:29 PM
C/1964 N1 (Ikeya)

see: International Meteor Organization calendar for details. ZHR is a rough prediction and represents optimal viewing conditions (clear dark sky, radiant directly overhead). Green rows are the best viewing

Aerospace Calendar



  • Mar 02 Peale, Cassen, and Reynolds boldly predict, in the journal Science, that Jupiter’s moon, Io, will have active volcanism, based on their analysis of the internal tides that Jupiter and Europa would raise within it. In the scientific equivalent of Babe Ruth’s “Called Shot,” they would be proved correct in the most dramatic fashion when Voyager 1 flew by Io a mere one week later. 36 years ago
  • Mar 03 Inventor Alexander Graham Bell born 168 years ago
  • Mar 05 Soviet probe Venera 14 returned color images of the venusian surface. 33 years ago
  • Mar 09 Launch of Sputnik 9, carrying canine passenger named “Chernushka” (“Blackie”), who was recovered successfully later that day. Mice, a guinea pig, and a astronaut manikin were also included on the flight. Chernushka was one of at least 13 dogs sent into Space during the early Russian space program; several, including Chernushka, are featured on Russian postage stamps of the era. 54 years ago
  • Mar 09 Linda Morabito (Kelly), navigation engineer for the Voyager 1 spacecraft flying by Jupiter, noticed an odd ‘bump’ on Jupiter’s moon, Io, in a navigation image acquired on March 8. It proved to be the plume of an active volcano, predicted boldly in print a mere one week before the flyby, the scientific equivalent of Babe Ruth’s famed ‘Called Shot.’ 36 years ago
  • Mar 10 The “Fountains of Enceladus” were described in a paper published this date in the journal, Science. They are likely to be plumes of water vapor/ice particles geysered from the interior of Enceladus. 9 years ago
  • Mar 11 Launch of Pioneer 5, designed to measure conditions in interplanetary space between Earth and Venus. 55 years ago
  • Mar 11 Launch of STS-123 Space Shuttle Endeavour on the 25th shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS) to deliver Dextre, a two-armed Canadian robotic system, and the first components of the Japanese Kibo Module. Onboard are astronauts Dominic L. Gorie, commander; Gregory H. Johnson, pilot; Richard M. Linnehan, Robert L. Behnken, Garrett E. Reisman, Michael J. Foreman and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Takao Doi, all mission specialists. 7 years ago
  • Mar 11 The longest extra-vehicular activity (EVA) to date was 8 hours and 56 minutes, performed by Susan J. Helms and James S. Voss during Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-102. 14 years ago

Covers Mon 2015-03-02 01:00 through Thu 2015-03-12 01:00 . Calculations are for Charlotte, NC (40.3690,-80.6330) at an elevation of 215 m and are expressed in local (US/Eastern) time and a 24 hour clock.