March 2015 Night Photography Events Calendar

Each month I post a monthly night photography events calendar on the first day of the month. Events listed on this calendar are suitable for wide-field and moderate-telephoto astrophotography, as well as for general night photography. Unless otherwise stated, all events occur in the United States at mid-latitudes. Most of the events also occur at other locations, although some of them may require correction for latitude and longitude.

The position of the Moon relative to the planets and stars changes throughout the night. Generally, when a position is given, it is for the period about 45 minutes after sunset or 45 minutes before sunrise. Do not confuse the times of the Moon phases for the times of Moonrise and Moonset. Consult local charts for rise and set times.

In March, the nights are getting shorter, but there are still many hours of darkness for us. For those who stay inside during January and February because of the cold, March is a good time to get out. The nights are warmer, but still chilly enough that sensor noise isn’t as big a problem as it is in the summer.

March is a great time to shoot the zodiacal light and this year nearly two full weeks when it will be visible if the viewing conditions are right.

Saint Patrick’s Day on March 17 is a terrific time to get out and enjoy some night shooting while having fun and drinking green beer. If you live near a big city, chances are that there will be a festival going on that includes some sort of green lighting display.

If you sign up for my free Night Photography News eNewsletter, you’ll receive each calendar two weeks early, on the 15th of the preceeding month. This will give you more time to plan your night shooting.

All month Orion, the night sky’s brightest and most prominent constellation, shines in the evening night sky. At sunset, it is high in the sky to the South and sets around midnight in the West. It makes a great complement to a wide-angle night-sky image, as well as being a terrific principal subject.
All month Brilliant Venus (mag -3.9) shines low on the horizon in the dusk sky, looking West. It sets a few hours after sunset.
All month Rusty-colored Mars shines very low on the horizon in the dusk sky, looking West. During the first week of the month, it shines very close to Venus. At mag +1.3 it is far dimmer than Venus, but will show up well in photos. It sets a couple hours after sunset.
All month Jupiter is visible nearly all night long. At the first of the month, it stands about 35° high in the eastern sky after sunset and about 60° high in the East-Northeast by the end of the month. It sets in the West-Northwest about an hour before sunrise at the first of the month and about 2 hours by the end of the month. Shining at about mag -2.4, only Venus and the Moon are brighter.
All month At the first of the month, Saturn rises around 1am in the East-Southeast and stands about 35° high in the South at dawn twilight. At the end of the month, the ringed planet rises around midnight and is in the South-Southwest at dawn.
2 Jupiter shines close to the waxing gibbous Moon, looking East.
5 Full Moon at 1:06pm. Don’t forget, in addition to including the full Moon as a complement to a landscape or urban scene, you can use the light from the full (or nearly full) Moon to illuminate your scene.
8 Daylight Savings Time begins at 2am. Most of the United States and Canada will set their clocks forward one hour.
8 – 21 The zodiacal light is visible in the west after sunset from dark locations. See this blog post for more information.
13 Third quarter Moon at 1:48pm.
17 Saint Patrick’s Day is observed. Major landmarks around the work have special green lighting displays to celebrate the holidays, providing terrific night-photo opportunities. Google “turning green for Saint Patrick’s Day 2015” to find something near you. Oh, today is also a good day to drink green beer!
16 The  crescent Moon shines in the southeastern dawn sky.
17 A  thin crescent Moon shines low on the horizon in the dawn sky, looking East-Southeast.
18 A very thin crescent Moon shines very low on the horizon in the dawn sky, looking East-Southeast.
20 New Moon at 5:36am. Don’t forget, the best time to shoot the stars (as either pinpoints or star trails) is when there is no light pollution from the Moon.
20 Spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere at 6:45pm.
21 A sliver thin crescent Moon shines very low on the horizon in the dusk sky, looking West. Mars lies extremely close and  Venus shines close above them both.
22 A  thin crescent Moon shines low on the horizon in the dusk sky, looking West. Mars lies below the Moon and Venus shines very close to the Moon.
23 A  thin crescent Moon shines in the dusk sky, looking West. Venus is below the Moon and Mars is below Venus.
24 The crescent Moon shines high above Venus and Mars in the dusk sky, looking West.
27 First quarter Moon at 3:43am.
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