constellation. Saturn rises after 10 pm in the East. The other visible planets, Mars, Mercury,Venus are all close to the position of the Sun so they are cannot be seen. New Moon was on March 11 so this time is best for observing it through telescopes as it is in thecrescent phase and will be most attractive when it is half phase called First Quarter on March 19or soon after that when it has not reached Full Moon phase which will be on March 27. TheThird Quarter is on April 3 when it is again in half phase but this is usually not seen by many because the Moon rises very late, after midnight.The sky map shows the brightest stars Sirius and Canopus as five pointed stars. Other bright starsare shown as spots whose size depends on their brightness. The smallest black dots have a brightness of magnitude four. Fainter stars that can only be seen in rural environment wherethere are no major sources of light pollution are shown in the map as background dots. These areof magnitude 5 and 6. Stars of magnitude greater than 6 cannot be seen with the naked eyes andis the limit of human visibility. Notice that the magnitude scale is in reverse order with brighteststars having lower magnitude number while dim stars have high magnitude.Due to light pollution in cities, municipalities and large towns, the faintest stars that we can seeare of magnitude three or lower. When there is a Moon in the sky, even the magnitude 3 starsmay not be seen easily. More exotic objects such as galaxies, nebulae, ‘dust’ bands, comets etc.are also blocked from our view. At best we can see not more than 300 of more than 1000 starsthat should be visible at a time in the night sky. This shows how much of the natural beauty weare missing just because a huge amount of light is allowed to escape uselessly upward into thedusty air. We need to make just a small effort in awareness and dedication to arrest this growing problem before all the beauty of our urban skies is wiped out.The Milky Way continues to dominate the overhead skies in the early night skies of March. Itstretches from the Southern Cross in the southeast horizon, up through Sirius (the Dog), betweenOrion (the Hunter) and Gemini (the Twins) in the overhead skies, descending to Taurus (theBull) and ending in Perseus in the northwest horizon. Leo (the Lion) fills the eastern sky whilethe pointers Southern Cross in the south and Big Dipper in the north rise early in the west andcan be used to find north-south direction after 9 p.m. Be careful not to confuse the False Crosswith the real one!Moderate light pollution is useful for beginning astronomers since it is best to start observing thesky in cities on a night with moonlight. This will allow the beginner to start by first recognizingthe positions of the brightest stars and then gradually continue observing during moonless nightsand relate these with the known brightest stars. Finally, one can look for the fainter stars awayfrom city lights and also observe star clusters and dust and gas clouds (nebulae).March 20
is the day of Equinox when all over the world the length of day and night will beequal.