At mid-evening, the band of the Milky Way galaxy crosses the sky from approximately south south-east to north-west. For those with binoculars or a telescope, there are a lot of interesting objects to view in that expanse.


Overhead are Gemini (the twins), with its bright star Castor and Pollux. Next in zodiacal progression are Cancer (the crab). Note Praesepe, almost right on the ecliptic (the path of the sun and moon), an interesting apparition in the midst of Cancer. Lastly, there's Leo (the lion), with its brightest star, Regulus. Further south, note Canis Major (the big dog), and the brightest star in our sky, Sirius, Canis Minor (the little dog), and Procyon (8th brightest). When Sirius is nearest the zenith, see if you can spot a bright star on the southern horizon over the San Bernardino Mountains. This is Canopus, second-brightest star in Earth's sky and a southern star too.


Morning stars are Venus, Mars, and Saturn. Venus is conspicuously lower in the morning sky. Jupiter is our only evening star at the moment, in Aries. We will lose it at the end of the month, to be replace by Saturn, currently in Virgo and rising too late to be an evening star. The full Moon on the 19 is closer to Earth than anytime until 2016. That will also cause higher tides than normal.


Thank goodness, March 20 is the vernal equinox, the first day of Spring, but it's still cold at night.