Late this month, the planets will put on a show for you
March, they say, comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Let me tell you why I'm keenly interested that the "lamb" part happens in Boston this year.
I don't want any clouds messing up my view from March 25 to 30, especially not on the 29th. That's when all five planets visible to the naked eye - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter - will grace the evening sky right after sundown. You'll be able to see them where you are, too - though with Mercury, be sure to look during the 30 minutes right after sunset.
Find a nice open field, or unobstructed 180 degree horizon as far from city lights as you can. Look for brilliant Venus in the west. Hold up your outstretched left fist (thumb pointing right) and block out Venus. Now look to the right and below the knuckle of your thumb and you should see Mercury. It's so close to the sun that it's rarely visible. (From March 15 to the end of the month is Mercury's best appearance in the Northern Hemisphere.)
Keep Venus covered with your left fist. Mars sits above and to the left of your pinky, about four finger-widths away. Move your fist to cover Mars and look another fist's width to the left. There you'll see Saturn, resting serenely as its rings (albeit invisible to the unaided eye) twirl.
Put your arm down now. Turn well to your left (east): The king of the planets, gas-giant Jupiter, is at the highest point of its orbit in Earth's sky.
For these six nights, the planets appear pretty much in the same place. But, wow, does the moon ever move about! If lamblike weather holds, consider going out each night to watch the moon swing from being a sliver just left (east) of Mars on the 25th to a near-swollen orb perched between Saturn and Jupiter on the 30th.