Turn-of-the-season dazzle: brightest stars, vivid constellations, and rusty-gold Mars
The calendar in the night sky marks Spring Equinox evenings with the rising of golden Arcturus, the second brightest star in our sky. Sunset is at 7:11 this evening and about a minute later each day going forward.
As twilight deepens, about an hour after sunset, gold-to-red twinkling Arcturus climbs above the northeastern horizon. The great star, -0.05 magnitude, appears later over obstructed views. To be sure to locate Arcturus at any time of night, follow the diagram at the top of this page. On spring evenings, the Big Dipper can be found high in the sky from the northeast to southeast. Trace the arc of its handle down to “arc to Arcturus”.
Study the illustration, below, as a guide to brilliant stars and vivid, readable star patterns. They are the most iconic of both winter and spring and characterize the turn-of-the-season night sky. Enjoy winter constellations in the southwest to west from an hour after sunset until about 11pm. Rusty-gold Mars is up until after midnight.
March 28 at 9 p.m. Image: Judy Isacoff / Starry Night
On Sunday, March 28, the Full Sap Moon rises due east at 7:19pm opposite sunset due west at 7:17pm. For early risers, Arcturus and the Big Dipper are visible low in the west to northwest in morning twilight.