The month of March will include a special view of Jupiter, a penumbral lunar eclipse and, for parts of the world, a total solar eclipse as well.
According to Tech Times, the first upcoming noteworthy date for celestial events will be March 8, when Jupiter will be at Opposition, its closest approach to Earth. The gas giant will reflect sunlight as brightly as it ever does and will be visible all night long.
Sea and Sky reports that March 8 will be “the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons.” Jupiter’s colored bands of gas may be visible with a backyard telescope, and binoculars could reveal the gas giant’s four largest moons appearing as bright points nearby.
March 9 will feature a solar eclipse, which will appear total to areas in central Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean, over which the moon will completely block the Sun and reveal only the Sun’s corona as a shining circle. The phenomenon will be seen as a partial eclipse in northern Australia and parts of Southeast Asia.
On March 20, the Sun will appear directly above the equator, heralding the equinox, when the entire globe will experience a day and night of nearly equal length, moving the northern hemisphere into spring and the southern into autumn.
A partial lunar eclipse will appear on March 23, and should be visible from eastern Asia and Australia, the Pacific, and the west coast of North America. This type of eclipse is called a penumbral lunar eclipse, and is caused by the moon passing through the penumbra, or partial shadow, of the Earth.