The Visible Planets
Mercury is not visible from our latitude early in the month but slowly reappears above the western horizon by the end of the month. On March 17, Mercury is at conjunction. On March 27, look for Mercury near the much brighter planet Jupiter, low above the western horizon after sunset. Binoculars will greatly assist you in viewing this conjunction, as both planets will be in the Sun’s dusk glow.
Venus is found shining brilliantly above the western horizon after sunset all month long. After sunset on March 1, see Venus have a close conjunction with the slightly fainter planet Jupiter in the west-southwest sky. After sunset on March 23, look for the waxing gibbous Moon just to the lower right of bright Venus.
Mars continues to traverse the stars of the constellation of Taurus, the bull, through most of this month, entering the adjacent constellation of Gemini by March 26. Look for Mars and the stars of Taurus and Gemini well over halfway up in the south-southwestern sky after sunset, with Mars setting about 6 hours later. Mars is seen amongst two other reddish objects in our night sky, the star Aldebaran, the red eye of the bull, and the star Betelgeuse, the red star marking the shoulder of Orion, the hunter. Mars will pass near the open star cluster M35 on the nights of March 27 to April 1. On the nights of March 27 and 28, Mars will be near the Moon.
Jupiter is seen low along the west-southwest horizon, within the constellation of Pisces, the fish, after sunset at the start of the month. However, as the month progresses, Jupiter sinks lower towards the western horizon and then slowly disappears into the dusk glow by the end of the month. After sunset on March 1, look for Jupiter very close to the planet Venus, and then on the night of March 22, look for Jupiter to the lower right of the waxing crescent Moon.
Saturn is not visible at the start of the month, having just been at its point of conjunction last month. However, by the end of the month, Saturn slowly emerges out of the dawn’s early light to be visible with some difficulty very low above the east-southeast horizon. Saturn is situated amongst the stars of the constellation of Aquarius, the water bearer.
March 7 Full Moon (The Worm Moon)
March 14 Last Quarter Moon
March 21 New Moon
March 28 First Quarter Moon
International Space Station (ISS) Observable Passes
Look for passes of the International Space Station in our early evening sky from March 8 to March 13 and then in our early morning sky, before sunrise, from March 13 to March 18. Exact times of these passages for your location can be found by visiting the website http://www.heavens-above.com or by using satellite tracking smart phone apps like Sputnik.
March 1 Venus and Jupiter conjunction low in the western sky after sunset.
March 12 Daylight savings time begins! Add 1 hour of time to your clocks (spring ahead)!
March 13 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Edmonton Centre meeting
Live in the Zeidler Dome at TELUS World of Science - Edmonton and presented virtually through Zoom.
7:30 p.m. – 9:30 pm
Free for anyone to attend.
See http://www.edmontonrasc.com for more details.
March 17 Mercury is at superior conjunction.
March 20 Spring equinox occurs at exactly 3:24 p.m. MDT.
March 27 See a conjunction of the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury after sunset (west).