This month’s after-dark entertainment puts our interstellar neighbors on display, from a Venus-Jupiter conjunction to kick off the month to a planet parade, Saturn showing, and even a visit from one of the trickiest planets to spot: Mercury.
In most cases, you can catch these planets with your naked eye, but a pair of stargazing binoculars or a telescope will enhance your viewing experience — as will a stargazing app to guide you through the cosmos. March is also one of the final months to catch the northern lights in high-latitude places like Iceland and Alaska.
Grab your blankets and binoculars; here’s where to look in the night sky this March.
March 1: Venus-Jupiter conjunction
The month kicks off with a bang as two of the brightest visible planets, Venus and Jupiter, will appear just half a degree apart from each other (about half of your thumb’s width). They’ve been nearing each other throughout February, but on the evening of March 1, the two will come to a head, appearing to almost touch in the west-southwest sky just after sunset, according to Space.com.
March 14: A planet parade
Catch not one, but four planets in the night sky come nightfall on March 14. According to the Adler Planetarium, Mars, Uranus, Venus, and Jupiter will appear in a vertical line in the western sky, near the Taurus and Orion constellations. Look for Mars at the top of the line and Jupiter close to the horizon at the base.
March 20: March equinox
It may not follow the month’s planet theme, but the long-awaited March equinox will officially hit at 5:24 p.m. EDT on March 20, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. This marks spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere. The equinox supports Punxsutawney Phil’s 2023 prediction for North America: a long winter that extends until mid-March.
March 24: Saturn appears
The month of planet fun continues on March 24 as Saturn dazzles stargazers in the early morning hours, roughly 40 minutes before sunrise, in the east-southeast sky. The ringed planet will hover near the horizon, so find an open spot with clear views to the southeast, according to the Adler Planetarium.
March 27: See Mercury near Jupiter
Mercury is known as the elusive planet; it’s tricky to see given its proximity to the sun. According to Sky at Night magazine, that will change come late March. On March 27, Mercury will hang near Jupiter in the night sky. It will appear as a bright star near the western horizon after sunset, according to Space.com. You can continue admiring the elusive planet from late March into April.
March 28: The moon meets Mars
The month ends with yet another interstellar hangout, this time between the moon and Mars. According to Space Tourism Guide, the duo will appear just two degrees apart from each other in the morning sky. The first-quarter moon will make it easier to admire the red planet’s copper hue.
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