Monthly Sky Charts for Hawaiʻi
March Sky & Season Events Events
March 20 marks the Vernal or Spring Equinox when the sun will be rising exactly east and setting exactly west. In the Northern Hemisphere it is celebrated as the first day of spring. Despite the name ‘equinox’ this day will not actually have equal parts daytime and nighttime. This year, In Honolulu, March 15, will be the day with the closest amount of equal day and night with the day lasting 12 hours and 52 seconds.
Immediately following our March Equinox, the moon will once again be at its perigee position on its Full moon date of March 20th. As mentioned last month, the moon’s orbit around the Earth is not a perfect circle and because of this there is a point in the moon’s orbit where it slightly closer to Earth, this point is called perigee. When the moon is at perigee the same time that it is full it is often referred to as a Supermoon.
March Morning Observing
Observers waking up before dawn will be treated to a few bright and beautiful planets. The bright planets Venus and Jupiter will be rising out of Manu Malanai and will be easily visible in the sky before the Sun rises just before 7 am. Sandwiched between Venus and Jupiter will be the planet Saturn. Saturn will be significantly fainter than Venus and Jupiter but will still stand out in the sky.
Next to these planets will be the famous shape of Maui’s Fishhook, Kamakaunuiomāui, easily found by first finding the distinctively bright red star of Lehuakona (also known as Antares).
March Evening Observing with Navigational Perspective
Kekāomakaliʻi, The Canoe Bailer, is now filling the western region of the sky. In this star line we can make out the recognizable stars that make up Kaheiheionākeiki,also well known as Orion the Hunter. South of Orion, the incredibly bright star ‘A’ā, this is the brightest star that we can see in the nighttime sky. North and west of Orion the planet Mars and the star cluster of Makali’i will be preparing to set into Manu Ho’olua. Looking towards the Koʻolau quadrant in the northeast and in compass house Nālani, we see the constellation Nāhiku, Ursa Major. Also, in the eastern sky is Hōkūpā, Leo, having risen in the compass house Lā Koʻolau. The evening sky is full of bright objects to cast your gaze upon.