Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2), discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy on August 17, 2014, is on its outward bound journey back to the distant Oort Cloud. It is still close enough to the Sun to be bright enough to see in a small telescope or large binoculars. This comet is best viewed in March’s middle two weeks when the night sky is moonless and the comet passes near Cassiopeia (the large W-shaped constellation in the northwest).
Don’t miss a look at Jupiter and its moons this month. Although Jupiter reached its peak visibility in February, it is still very bright the entire month of March. It will pass between the constellations Leo (with its reverse question mark head) and Cancer on March 15th about 10:00pm and about two-thirds of the way to the zenith (the point directly overhead). The brightest four of Jupiter’s moons (Jupiter has over 60 moons) and its two equatorial belts should be clearly visible even in the smallest of telescopes.
On one of mid-March’s moonless nights, look to the west just as twilight fades to night and you might see a dim cone of light extending up from the horizon. This is the zodiacal light formed as the Sun’s light bounces off dust particles in the plane of the planets’ orbits in the inner solar system.