Heaven in March 2020

The first month of spring has a lot in store for stargazers and lunatics in the sky. What will happen in the sky in March 2020, the inclined readership learns in this article. There is a lot going on, because Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus will be visible in the sky alongside the Pleiades, Hyades and Orion.

The moon in March

Let's start with the phases of the moon in March. Many holidays and calendar events are based on the moon, because many peoples have celebrated their religions on the basis of lunar events.

Crescent in the sky in March

We experienced the new moon of the current lunation ( lunation refers to the variable time span for an orbit of the moon around the earth, related to its position to the sun, and thus the synodic period of the moon.) on 23.02.2020. Since the observation of stars and planets works particularly well on a new moon night, it was rainy and cloudy on this Sunday.

The crescent moon in its increasing form can be observed in the sky on 02.03.2020 at around 20:57. We will experience the waning crescent moon on 16.03.2020 at 10:34 am.

Full moon in March

After the snow moon did not bring us snow in February , the Lenzmond or worm moon is announced in March. But the full moon has other beautiful names in March. It is also called fasting month, crow moon, sugar moon, syrup moon, bark moon, chaste moon and Lenzing.

Supermoon in the sky in March

When the Lenzmond rises above the horizon at east-northeast on March 9 at around 5:52 pm, I will have looked for a nice place, because it is the first supermoon of the year. Especially at moonrise, the difference is clearly visible.

At Supermoon, the Moon is particularly close to Earth and thus appears 14% larger than usual. This is because our Trabant is about 45,000 km closer than usual. To touch the moon, the inclined readership still has to overcome 360,000 km.

Supermoon August 2014 - It reappears in the sky in March.
Supermoon August 2014 behind clouds

New moon

Lunation 1203 begins with the new moon on 24.03.2020. It will be another day when the stars will be particularly good to observe – if it does not rain. If you observe this new moon (very narrow crescent), you have to look very closely. It is a mini new moon that appears in the sky in March. With 406,692 km, the moon can be found at 16:23 clock at the furthest point from Earth.

Venus and Uranus make the beginning

Currently, Venus is a constant easily recognizable guest in the sky. In March, our neighbor will meet with Uranus. If you want to attend this date, look at the western horizon on March 8 at 6:42 pm. At this time, Venus is what appears to be the brightest star in the sky. On the left, just below Venus, Uranus will pay us our respects in the sky in March 2020. Around 10:00 p.m., the two disappear behind the horizon.

When the two are gone, the Pleiades will be visible in good visibility.

Moon and Mars in the sky in March

In the sky in March, the planets play an important role. On March 18, 2020, in the early morning hours from 4:28 a.m. on the southeastern horizon, in addition to Saturn and Jupiter, Mars will also appear together with the moon. At 5:51 a.m., both will be visible 13° above the southeastern horizon.


Friday, 20.03.2020 at 4:50 am it's time! At this time, day and night are almost the same length at every point of our wonderful planet Earth.

While in the northern hemisphere we refer to the March Aquinox as the Spring Aquinoxe, our fellow human beings in the Southern Hemisphere refer to this time as the Autumn Aquinctium.

Mars and Jupiter

So that the equinox does not have to inspire us so lonely, Mars and Jupiter meet at 03:49 a.m. on the southeastern horizon of the sky in March. At 05:47 the two planets can be seen 14° above the horizon. Not far from Mars and Jupiter, Saturn joins them.

Mercury and Venus

On March 24, shortly after 6:00 a.m., Mercury can be clearly seen in the zodiac sign of Aquarius. Since at this time the sun already shows its rays, I advise my inclined readership to look east-southeast from about 5:30 am.

Our neighbor, Venus, appears on the evening of the same day from 18:33 clock above the horizon in a west-southwest direction. Around 10:50 p.m., the goddess of love sets on the west-northwest horizon.

In addition to Saturn (1) and Jupiter (2), I have marked Antares (3) in the constellation Scorpio (4) in this image. The Milky Way is also clearly visible.

The Pleiades

An inconspicuous disc with some golden dots caused a sensation in Germany. The Nebra Sky Disc is the oldest document that people in today's Germany have dealt with the sky and its stars. Pictured on it are the Pleiades, which are the subject of this article.

Who or what are the Pleiades?

The seven sisters representing the Pleiades are found in the constellation of Taurus and are between 360 and 445 light years from Earth. Converted into kilometers, the distance of the Pleiades is between 3,405,863,079,763,042 km and 4,210,025,195,818,204.5 km.

The Siebengestirn consists of the daughters of Atlas and Pleione. According to Greek mythology, they are called Alcyone, Asterope, Elektra, Kelaino, Maia, Merope and Taygete.

The Pleiades as an animation with the stars surrounding the seven stars.
The Pleiades in detail

The Nebra Sky Disc

Our ancestors already knew this star and immortalized it in gold on a copper disc about 3,700 to 4,100 years ago. In addition, the full moon and the waxing moon were applied in gold. In a second phase, our ancestors still have the horizon arcs for sunrise and sunset.

Wikipedia explains the second phase as follows:

The horizon arcs added later each sweep over an angle of 82 degrees, as well as sunrise and sunset between winter and summer solstice on the horizon at the latitude of the site. If the disc was positioned horizontally on the Mittelberg in such a way that the imaginary line from the upper end of the left arc to the lower end of the right curve points to the top of the Brocken about 85 km away, the disk could be used as a calendar to track the solar year. Seen from Mittelberg, the sun sets behind the Brocken at the summer solstice. The assumption that the right arch is the western one, marking the sunset, is supported by its proximity to the inclined crescent moon, which in the constellation mentioned is illuminated by the setting sun. Whether the disk was used in this state as an instrument for determining the solstices, or whether it merely represents the knowledge of these determinations, is uncertain.

Photographing the Pleiades

The year 2020 is under the motto astrophotography. The Pleiades have been part of astronomical observations for more than 4,000 years, so what could be more obvious than photographing the Seven Stars.

During my winter holiday in the beautiful Stubaital I succeeded. Orion was clearly visible in the southern night sky and I set out to record a time-lapse. While evaluating the images, I looked for known stars and became aware of a small group, which I first identified as a small car. On closer inspection, it could not be exactly the constellation and I pulled out my iPhone and opened the app Sky Guide . My suspicion that they are the Pleiades was confirmed.

For the Android users I have received two app recommendations from the community. On the one hand Sky View was recommended, on the other hand the app Sky Portal was recommended to me. Feel free to test both apps and let me know what you use to explore the sky.

How did the Pleiades make it onto the sensor?

As I have already written, it was more of a coincidence that I was able to catch the seven sisters by chance. I put the camera on a tripod and equipped it with my 14mm wide angle. After I also set the focus on "infinity" with the moon, it was time to set ISO and time.

The night sky with the Pleiades
In addition to Orion, Sirius and the moon, the seven stars, i.e. the Pleiades, can also be seen in this image.

The moon, more precisely the waxing moon, shone from the open sky and was reflected by the snow. Due to the low light smog I was able to work with the following EXIF data:

  • ISO 1,600
  • 5 sec Exposure time
  • Focal length 14mm
  • Aperture f/2.8

Fancy a star map?

I tried to create a star map using two pictures as examples. On the first very much you a shot in which I caught the Pleiades. Just click on the image to enlarge.

In addition to the Pleiades (1), Orion (2), Rigel (3), the constellation Taurus (4), the Hyades (5), the constellation Aries (6), Betelgeuse (7) and Uranus (8) are well recognizable. The moon is so big that I was able to label the Earth's satellite with its full name.
In addition to the Pleiades (1), Orion (2), Rigel (3), the constellation Taurus (4), the Hyades (5), the constellation Aries (6), Betelgeuse (7) and Uranus (8) are well recognizable. The moon is so big that I was able to label the Earth's satellite with its full name.

In the second picture I have marked the winter hexagon for you. This structure can only be seen in this position in winter and it is composed of seven stars (sounds strange, but that's how it is 😉 ). Again, I have marked the stars, connected them by lines and in the text to the picture the inclined readership finds the names of the stars.

In this picture I have marked the winter hexagon for you. It consists of Rigel (1), Sirius (2), Procyon (3), Polux (4), Castor (5), Kapella (6) and Aldebaran (7).
In this picture I have marked the winter hexagon for you. It consists of Rigel (1), Sirius (2), Procyon (3), Polux (4), Castor (5), Kapella (6) and Aldebaran (7).

What happens next?

I took the shots for Timelapse and I captured the night sky rather unconsciously. Now I will put the recordings together little by little and then show you these films.

If you liked the article, please spread the word and give others the chance to read my texts. Thank you 🙂

Heaven in February 2020

After January spoiled us with heavenly views, I also researched the most important events in the sky in February 2020.

February is the shortest calendar month of the year, so is this February, despite the leap year. 29 days for celestial phenomena that we can observe in the sky in February 2020.

Half moon is on 02.02.2020
It starts with the crescent.

Moon phases in February

On February 2, the crescent moon will move across the sky. At night at 02:41 we see the moon illuminated halfway.

Snow Moon or Hornung

Seven days later, on 09.02.2020 is full moon. The February full moon is also called snow moon or hornung. At 8:33 a.m. the moon bathes its splendor in the sunlight and can be seen – assuming a cloudless sky – as a 100% full moon.

But what does Hornung actually mean?

There are various theories for the origin of the Old German name Hornung . On the one hand, it is believed that it originates from the observation of our ancestors that red deer shed their antlers at this time of year. Another theory refers to the length of the month of February: With its 28 or 29 days, the month is shorter than all the others – it is assumed that in Old and Middle High German it was therefore given the unflattering name hornunc : bastard. (Source: Time & Dates)

New moon in the sky in February 2020

After the full moon, our Earth's satellite is on a diet again and is losing weight. The crescent will be visible in the sky at 11:17 p.m. on February 15. Subsequently, the image forms into an ever smaller crescent. The optimal night for stargazers is then on February 23rd. At 16:32 o'clock the new moon appears in the sky.

The next day, the fine crescent of the waxing moon can be seen.

And what else?

The planet Mercury reaches its largest eastern elongation of 18° on February 10. The evenings of the week around this night are the best opportunities to see the planet with a magnitude of −0.6. This evening, Mercury will be 15° above the western horizon and will be visible in the dark sky in February 2020. It will go down just 1 hour and 35 minutes later at 19:06.

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. Only 58,000,000 km separate Mercury from the Sun. Between the small Mercury and the earth are then again 92,000,000 km.

Astronomical Forms in the sky in February

If you look at the sky on a clear winter night, you will see many well-known and lesser-known constellations. Six stars have particularly impressed astronomers, because these six form the winter hexagon.

The complete winter hexagon can be seen in the sky in February 2020. It is formed from the six stars Capella (also: Kapella) in the carter, the twins Castor and Pollux, the small dog Procyon, Rigel in Orion, the red Aldebaran as the eye of Taurus and the big dog Sirius, the brightest fixed star of our sky. In the southern night sky, it is easy to see between 21:00 and 22:00. As the night progresses, the earth continues to rotate and we humans get the impression that the hexagon is setting in the west.

The winter hexagon can be seen well in the sky in February 2020

Penumbral eclipse over Europe

On 10.01.2020 is full moon and it will be visible through a certain constellation of sun, earth and moon a penumbral eclipse over Europe – if the weather plays along. I will try to photograph the event together with my daughter.

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Penumbra, what is it?

Here is once again clever knowledge for the inclined readership. You have to know that a lunar eclipse in three versions is visible to us humans. Experts speak of the three shadows of the earth, which cause a partial lunar eclipse, a penumbral eclipse or a total lunar eclipse.

Partial lunar eclipse

On the way to the moon - This sight has nothing to do with the penumbral eclipse over Europe. It is a partial lunar eclipse.
During the partial lunar eclipse I was also able to "flash" this motorist.

During a partial lunar eclipse, parts of the moon are obscured by the Earth's umbra called umbra. This shadow then "wanders" over the moon and only parts of the moon are obscured by the shadow.

Total lunar eclipse

This blood moon will not be visible during the penumbral eclipse over Europe.
The lunar eclipse in 2018 made this recording possible for me.

The umbra plays a prominent role in this eclipse, because the moon "dips" into this umbra on its orbit. The so-called blood moon (see picture above) comes to light.

Penumbral eclipse

On January 10, 2020 , the moon will dive into the very pale penumbra of the Earth and there will be a penumbral eclipse over Europe. The darkening of the moon is not as strong as during a partial or total lunar eclipse. In January 2020, the moon will dive particularly deep into the penumbra, so that the darkening – assuming a clear view – will be clearly visible.

From the beginning at 18:07:44 to the maximum darkening at 20:10:02 until the exit from the penumbra at 22:12:09, this penumbral eclipse over Europe lasts 4 hours, 4 minutes and 35 seconds.

Penumbral eclipse over Europe

more dates

This year, the moon dives again in the penumbra of the earth, but not as deep. On June 5, 2020 , it's that time again. When parts of the inclined readership are on the road in southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and southern Europe on 5 July 2020, these parts of my readership will enjoy another penumbral eclipse over Europe.

After the penumbral eclipse, the moon will show up as a "normal" full moon.

Next door on Facebook, I invite the inclined readership to join the event on this topic and share what they have experienced.

Heaven in January 2020

The new year is working hard and provides us with a penumbral eclipse of the moon, Venus and Neptune that seem to come close. The sun also comes quite close to us and the quadrantids complete the picture. So sun, moon and stars in the sky in January 2020 make a lot of effort to impress us.

Shooting stars in January?

Shooting stars can be seen all year round. I have already described this in connection with the Perseids . The sky in January 2020 has the Quadrantids ready for us on 04.01.2020. From Berlin you can see up to 24 meteors per hour crashing on our planet around 07:00.

Important for observations and sightings is the so-called radiant. In celestial observation, this refers to the point from which the meteors seem to come.

In the sky in January 2020, this is 71° above the eastern horizon.

Shooting stars can also be seen in the sky in January 2020
These star trails are the result of 180 images. On the right, slightly above the middle, two shooting stars can be seen, which have immortalized themselves parallel in the picture.

It gets warm in January #nicht

What are you most likely to think about in January when you're in Northern Europe? Cold, snow, ice on the puddles, scraping windows… But January holds a day that can prepare us for summer.

The sky in January 2020 is also the sky of perihelion.

In an orbit – for example of planets – around the sun, perihelion denotes the closest to the Sun and aphelion (pronounced Ap'hel) the farthest orbital point from the sun. (Wikipedia)

On January 5, 2020, the Sun will be 5,000,000 km closer to our probably unique planet. That sounds like a hell of a lot, but it is put into perspective if you take the remaining 147,091,000 km as a basis. So leave the summer clothes in the closet.

The moon treats itself to a shadow

On 10.01.2020 is full moon. So far nothing special, if there would not still be sun and earth play a role. And anyone who can remember the lunar eclipse in 2018 (the one with Mars, which only happens every 100,000 years) also knows from my article on this topic that there are various eclipses . A penumbral eclipse in our latitudes can be observed in clear skies on 10.01.2020.

Moonrise3:46 pm
Beginning of the penumbral eclipse6:09 pm
End of the penumbral eclipse10:10 pm
Moonset08:55 a.m.
Penumbral Eclipse Schedule

New moon in the sky in January 2020

On 24.01.2020, the moon has once again made its round around the earth and hides something in the sky. For astrophotography, this is the time of celestial observations. The light that the moon then reflects is so small that other celestial bodies are not outshined. In addition, the narrow moonproof is also worth a photo.

Venus and Neptune on cuddle course

At the end of January there is still a spectacle to see that hundreds of years ago terrified mankind. Two planets seem to be getting very close.

In the sky in January 2020, the planets appear at 19:12 on 27.01.2020 on the southwestern horizon at 10° and pass within 0.11°. This is called a conjunction, but it will not be visible from my position. At 21:03 the two meet. Venus and Neptune are very close at 7:12 p.m., so looking southwest may be worthwhile.


Even on a cold January night, it can be worthwhile for astrophotographers to freeze their noses, because the sky in January 2020 has some highlights in store.

Astrophotography – my Topic 2020

Supermoon August 2014

In 2019 it was very quiet here and I thought about turning off this page. But my heart told me that this site “only” has to become more alive – with astrophotography.

2020 will be astronomical

I have covered many topics here already, but one topic has moved further and further forward – astrophotography. Now it is not only the photography of star trails or the Milky Way, but also sun, moon, planets and constellations. As an introduction, I once summarised all pictures related to this topic in a Flickr album.

What does this mean for thewilling readership

My readership is used to me around the topics that I or those I deal with, write articles, share videos and photos and name dates. It goes on in the same way.

Furthermore I will deal with the hardware topic in astrophotography and let you participate in the discussion.

Where is the topic astrophotography still being treated?

I am active in many social networks. Some even think that there are too many. But this is exactly where a lot of things will happen that have to do with astrophotography. Photos are shown at Flickr, videos are available at YouTube. Dates are published on Facebook and the corresponding reports and experiences are stored here in written form.

only astrophotography ?

There will be a major theme in 2020. This does not mean that I am reducing myself to that. There will continue to be other issues that I am addressing here. All around us is landscape and architecture, there will be travel and there will be themes on which I will comment in one way or another.

Stay as wide awake, ask questions, comment on articles or tell others about this site.

Are there fixed topics?

I will publish monthly on this page an article from the category “The sky in…“. In it I will describe the moon phases in the respective calendar month, but also go into visible stars, planets, space stations and conjunctions. So stay with me and enjoy with me the topic of astrophotography.

Timelapse in Mallorca

We finally go on holiday and after we experienced the Canary Islands, more precisely Gran Canaria last summer, this year we go to Mallorca – so to the Balearic Islands. On this beautiful island I would also like to deal with different Timelapes projects and approach them with the Holy Grail of Timelapse. What a Timelapes is and what it has to do with Indiana Jones, this article should explain to you.

Timelapse, what is it?

Timelapse is the English term for timelapse. This means that time is being spent. Each of you has certainly painted a flipbook, nothing else is Timelapse. Individual images, which are recorded with a time delay, are played one after the other. If you play 25 images in one second, it seems fluid for the viewer and one speaks of a film. So if I take a picture every 10 seconds and then play the pictures quickly, I grab the time.

Sunrise at Cap Formentor
Sunrise at Cap Formentor

Holy Grail at Timelapse?

I suspected that this question would come, because I am writing the text. 😉 It has nothing to do with religion and nothing to do with Indiana Jones, who finds the Holy Grail in the form of a simple cup in the rock city of Petra with his father – played by the great actor Sean Connery. Photographers who deal with timelapse speak of the holy grail when the transition from day to night or night to day is to be captured in time-lapse. This is not so easy, because the changing lighting conditions must be compensated. To do this, the photographer must adjust the ISO, the exposure time and possibly also the aperture during the recording.

Wasn't there already an idea?

Oh yes, there's a dream I want to fulfill. I published this article many moons ago, more precisely on May 30, 2013. There was also a video embedded that you can watch there. For all those who are hoping for a little movie here, I once captured a car ride in time-lapse – film off…

The wild ride in Gran Canaria

If this ride was too wild for you, I produced another timelapse. Here you can see the Alpenglow in the Zugspitze region – film from…

Timelapse, taken in the Alps.

Back to the project

After I have explained to you something that is a timelapse, I would now like you to know about my idea:

I want to create three films during my holiday in Mallorca. One film should capture the sunset, one the sunrise and a film should set the starry sky in motion. For the first two topics, I need technical support. To live up to the Holy Grail, I will control my camera via Wi-Fi. For this I will use the Windows program Camera Control .

With this free program for Windows I can control my camera very precisely. I can change the ISO, shutter speed and aperture at a running interval without touching the camera. In addition, I can read the focal length and thus also provide movement in the image by changing the focal length.

Why Olympus does not design its app for iOS and Android in this way, the marketing strategists have to answer. For the new top model there is a program for Windows and Mac, unfortunately the tool is not backwards compatible.

During the recordings I have a lot of time and so I will possibly report live on Facebook or Twitter. If I have a lot of desire and time (so only desire, because I have time) I also make a short video in which I explain how the films are made.

So, stay curious and tell others about my plan. Maybe one or the other has tips for me.