All Month: In early March, Mars and Saturn form a triangle with the nearby star Antares in the southeast and south as they rise from about midnight till dawn. All are about equal in brightness, but Mars and Antares are ruddy in color. Mars brightens considerably during March and moves out of Ophiucus through Sagittarius, stretching out the triangle (with Saturn and Antares). Jupiter is east of Mars and Saturn, in Aquarius, but it doesn't appear before sunrise until late March. Venus dawdles along as an evening star, bright enough to see, but setting soon after the sun. Mercury shares the evening with it until midmonth, then enters the morning sky.
(The events below occur in local time unless otherwise indicated.)
March 1: A perigee moon (nearest earth) is up at dawn, setting about 9 a.m.
March 3: The morning moon works its way past Saturn, Antares, and Mars, Antares below, Saturn highest, and Mars to the left in a triangle, with the moon near its center at dawn. Last quarter moon is at 7:17 a.m. Eastern standard time (EST).
March 4-6: Sagittarius welcomes the waning moon, up in the east at dawn, rising later and lower daily relative to the stars of the constellation.
March 6: Mercury is still well-placed in the evening, above the western horizon at dusk but considerably dimmed since February. It begins to retrograde today.
March 8: Venus and Mercury are in conjunction. Venus is very bright, Mercury now quite dim, both very low in the twilight.
March 10: New moon, at 9:52 a.m. EST, is in Pisces.
March 13: Hamal and Sheratan, the Ram's brightest stars, are above the moon to its right.
March 15: A fattening crescent moon crosses into Taurus, moving below the cluster of dim stars known as the Seven Sisters.
March 16: The moon is at apogee (farthest from Earth); Mercury becomes a morning star (passing between Earth and sun); and the days become equal to the night in the Northern Hemisphere.
March 18: The moon is in Taurus when it reaches first quarter (11:39 a.m. EST) but then moves into Gemini.
March 19: Saturn, still in the morning sky, begins its retrograde motion today, and will soon become an evening star.
March 20: The sun reaches the vernal equinox at 5:03 p.m. EST, and spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere.
March 22-24: The waxing gibbous moon moves past Regulus, the Lion's bright star, during the day on the 23rd.
March 25: The full moon (10:02 p.m. EST) is in Virgo near the autumnal equinox.
March 26-27: Spica is near the moon on both nights.
March 28: The moon is at perigee for the second time this month.
March 29: Mercury, now a morning star, moves easterly again.
March 29-30: Antares and Saturn are to the left of the late night moon on the 29th, to its right and closer on the 30th.
March 31: The moon rises just past midnight in Sagittarius, covering the star Antares at about 8 a.m. EST over northwestern North America. Dr. Thomas D. Nicholson Director, the American Museum of Natural History, New York