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Moon and Winter Triangle on March 16

In our March 15 post, we spoke of the Winter Circle, a large asterism – noticeable pattern of stars – consisting of bright stars from several different constellations. The Winter Circle is so big, it dwarfs even the mighty constellation Orion the Hunter. And, in fact, Orion makes up the southwestern part of the Winter Circle. But there is also a pattern within the Winter Circle that many notice. It’s in the southeastern part of the humongous Winter Circle, and it’s called the Winter Triangle.

As darkness falls on the night of March 16, 2016, look for the three bright stars that form the Winter Triangle to the south of the moon.

In their order of brilliance, these stars are Sirius, Procyon and Betelgeuse.

If you live at northerly latitudes, the Winter Triangle appears below the moon in the southern sky; from temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, the Winter Triangle appears above the moon in the northern sky.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Bottom line: Once you find the Winter Triangle – consisting of the stars Sirius, Procyon and Betelgeuse – you can go from there to locate the larger Winter Circle pattern. Both of these patterns are asterisms – not official constellations. They’re just noticeable patterns on the sky’s dome.

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Bruce McClure