March Sky Chart

All month: Venus is still brilliant and well placed in the evening sky, joined by Mercury in a favorable elongation. Look below Venus and to the left for Mercury. Both are gone from the evening sky by late March. The planet scene now shifts noticeably to the morning. Saturn and Jupiter are already there, the latter brighter and seen easily in the southeast at dawn all month. Saturn rises before midnight. And Venus's swift disappearance in the evening presages its equally swift appearance as an excellent morning star by late spring. The events following occur at local times unless indicated otherwise. March 1: The moon is one day past first quarter at the beginning of March, visible in Gemini until it sets after midnight.

March 2-3: The fattening gibbous moon moves out of Gemini and into Cancer, passing below Pollux and Castor.

March 5: The crescent moon is in Leo, above Regulus, Leo's brightest star.

March 6: Full moon occurs at 9:13 p.m. Eastern standard time, in Leo. Saturn, now up by midnight, is stationary relative to the stars and begins to move westward (retrograde), away from Scorpius, and back into Libra.

March 8: The perigee moon (nearest Earth) is in Virgo, near its brightest star, Spica.

March 11-12: The gibbous moon, close to Saturn after midnight, rises in the sky with it on Tuesday morning.

March 12: Venus is moving nearly straight toward Earth just before it begins moving between Earth and sun.

March 13-14: The last-quarter moon occurs at 12:34 p.m. EST on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, the rising moon is in Sagittarius, with the stars of the ``teapot'' below it.

March 17: Jupiter is the bright object near the rising crescent moon this morning. Both are in Capricornus. Mercury reaches its greatest separation to the left of the sun today (greatest easterly elongation), positioning it well as an evening star. March evening elongations are favorable, so that chances to see Mercury low in the west after sundown should be good, even though its brightness is diminishing.

March 19: Last chance this morning to see the late crescent moon in the dawn sky before it becomes new in a few days.

March 20: The sun arrives at the vernal equinox at 11:14 a.m. EST and spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere.

March 21: New moon is at 6:59 a.m. EST, in Pisces, very near the vernal equinox.

March 22: At sundown tonight, you may have a chance of seeing the very slender crescent moon, only about a day-and-a-half old. Both Mercury and Venus were in conjunction with the moon earlier today, and with one another at about 9 p.m. EST.

March 23: The apogee moon (farthest from Earth).

March 23-24: The crescent moon is easily visible close to Mars. Mercury begins its retrograde motion on the 24th.

March 26-30: The waxing moon moves past the bright stars of Taurus and Gemini. The first-quarter moon comes at 11:11 a.m., Eastern standard time, on the 29th.

March 31: The moon is in Cancer, which is found midway between Gemini's two bright stars (Pollux and Castor) and Leo's Regulus.

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