Spring Deep Sky Objects are some of the best of the year with a multitude of galaxies and star clusters before the short summer nights take hold, and is prime time for the Leo triplet of galaxies. Sitting about halfway between the stars Chertan and Iota Leonis, the three galaxies are a sight to behold as they all fit within the field of view of a small telescope.
The Leo Triplet is best observed during the beginning and end of the month when the Moon is low in the sky or hasn't yet risen.
March is also the time to look out for the Beehive cluster (M44) in Cancer as it will be high in the sky. It is visible with the naked eye from a dark site, and a superb star cluster to observe in a small telescope.
If you're just beginning to observe galaxies then Messier M81 - Bode's Galaxy, and Messier M82 - Cigar Galaxy - in the constellation of Ursa Major are a nice bright pair to track down. They are located very close to one another, about 2° east of the star 24 Ursae Majoris.
The spring night skies are also home to some wonderful globular clusters. M3 in Canes Venatici and M5 in Serpens are good targets for a small telescope and can also be glimpsed with binoculars from sites with dark skies.
Spring Meteor Showers
Spring is a quiet time for meteors, there is just the annual Lyrids Meteor Shower and Eta Aquarids to look out for, both in April. The Lyrids are visible from around the 16th to 25th April and you can expect between 5 to 20 meteors per hour. The Eta Aquarids are active from around the 19th to 28th.
Click here for a visual guide to meteor showers.
Spring Time Constellations
Spring is an ideal time to observe the following constellations.
Spring Deep Space Objects
- C3 - Draco (12h 16.7m +69° 28m)
- C6 Cats Eye Nebula - Draco (17h 58.6m +66° 38m)
- C21 - Cains Venactici (12h 28.2m +44° 06m)
- C26 - Cains Venactici (12h 17.5m +37° 49m)
- C29 - Cains Venactici (13h 10.9m +37° 03m)
- C32 - Cains Venactici (12h 42.1m +32° 32m)
- C40 - Leo (11h 20.1m +18° 21m)
- C45 - Bootes (13h 37.5m +08° 53m)
- C48 - Cancer (09h 10.3m +07° 02m)
- C52 - Virgo (12h 48.6m -05° 48m)
- C58 - Canis Major (07h 17.8m -15° 37m)
- C60 The Antennae - Corvus (12h 01.9m -18° 52m)
- C61 The Antennae - Corvus (12h 01.9m -18° 53m)
- C64 Tau CMa Cluster - Canis Major (07h 18.8m -24° 57m)
- C94 Jewel Box Cluster - Crux (12h 53.6m -60° 20m)
- C98 - Crux (12h 42.3m -62° 58m)
- C99 Coal Sack - Crux (12h 53m -63° 00m)
- M40 - Ursa Major (12h 22.4m 58° 05m)
- M41 - Canis Major (06h 47.0m -20° 44m)
- M44 Praesepe - Cancer (08h 40.1m 19° 59m)
- M46 - Puppis (07h 41.8m -14° 49m)
- M47 - Puppis (07h 36.6m -14° 30m)
- M48 - Hydra (08h 13.8m -05° 48m)
- M49 - Virgo (12h 29.8m 08° 00m)
- M50 - Monoceros (07h 03.2m -08° 20m)
- M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy - Cains Venactici (13h 29.9m 47° 12m)
- M61 - Virgo (12h 21.9m 04° 28m)
- M63 The Sunflower Galaxy - Cains Venactici (13h 15.8m 42° 02m)
- M64 The Blackeye Galaxy - Coma Berenices (12h 56.7m 21° 41m)
- M65 - Leo (11h 18.9m 13° 05m)
- M66 - Leo (11h 20.2m 12° 59m)
- M67 - Cancer (08h 50.4m 11° 49m)
- M81 Bodems Galaxy - Ursa Major (09h 55.6m 69° 04m)
- M82 Cigar Galaxy - Ursa Major (09h 55.8m 69° 41m)
- M85 - Coma Berenices (12h 25.4m 18° 11m)
- M93 - Puppis (07h 44.6m -23° 52m)
- M93 - Puppis (07h 44.6m -23° 52m)
- M94 - Cains Venactici (12h 50.9m 41° 07m)
- M95 - Leo (10h 44.0m 11° 42m)
- M96 - Leo (10h 46.8m 11° 49m)
- M97 The Owl Nebula - Ursa Major (11h 14.8m 55° 01m)
- M101 Pinwheel Galaxy - Ursa Major (14h 03.3m 54° 21m)
- M102 Spindle Galaxy - Draco (15h 06.5m 55° 45m)
- M104 Sombrero Galaxy - Virgo (12h 40.0m -11° 37m)
- M105 - Leo (10h 47.8m 12° 35m)
- M106 - Cains Venactici (12h 19.0m 47° 18m)
- M108 - Ursa Major (11h 11.5m 55° 40m)
- M109 - Ursa Major (11h 57.6m 53° 23m)