Red Dirt Astronomy: Skies & Space for MarchMarch 1, 2023
Mercury - While remaining in the southern hemisphere sky for most of the month, Mercury will be visible during the last few days of March, visible low in the western sky during sunset as it briefly passes Jupiter on the 27th and begins to rise higher in the sky into the first week of April.
Venus - In March, Venus can be clearly seen in the western evening sky as it rises higher throughout the month. On the 2nd, Venus will be in close conjunction with Jupiter at 5 AM, but will be a great sight during the evenings of the 1st and 2nd of March.
Mars - Remaining high in the evening sky, Mars will spend most of the month near the Winter Hexagon, in Taurus. Around mid-March, Mars will form a wonderful red triangle with the bright red stars Aldebaran in Taurus, and Betelgeuse in Orion. Near the end of March, Mars will pass over the border of Taurus and spend the last few days in Gemini, with the first-quarter moon passing by on the 28th.
Jupiter - Apart from the conjunction with Venus on the 2nd, Jupiter can be easily seen in the western sky as early as 7 PM. On the 22nd, Jupiter will be close to the thin crescent moon just after sunset.
Saturn - For the second half of the month, Saturn can be seen rising with the Sun in the eastern sky around 6 AM, although it will be quite dim. As we get closer to 2025, Saturn will appear to get dimmer as we approach the next ring-plane crossing, where Saturn’s rings will be aligned with our view from Earth, virtually making them invisible as we view the planet edge-on. The last time we saw Saturn this way was in 1995.
Uranus - Throughout March, in the western evening sky near Aries, Uranus is best viewed through a telescope around 10 PM during this month, since binoculars and the naked eye aren’t quite strong enough to view this gentle giant from a couple billion miles away.
Neptune - Throughout March, Neptune will be too close to the Sun to be seen from Earth.
Sky & Space Events and Anniversaries: March 2023
March 2 - Venus and Jupiter in conjunction,
March 2 - Pioneer 10 launched (1972)
March 7 - Full Moon
March 12 - Daylight Savings Time begins
March 13 - Discovery of Uranus (1781)
March 14 - Antares near Moon, Last Quarter Moon
March 16 - Robert Goddard launched the world's first liquid-fueled rocket (1926)
March 17 - Vanguard 1, the oldest artificial satellite still in orbit, launched in 1958
March 20 - Spring Equinox
March 21- New Moon
March 22 - Jupiter near Moon
March 24 - Venus near Moon
March 26 - Pleiades near Moon
March 28 - Mars near Moon
March 28 - Discovery of Pallas (1802)
March 29 - First Quarter Moon
March 29 - Discovery of Vesta (1807)
March 30 - Mars near M35, Pollux near Moon
March 31 - Venus near Uranus,
March 31- Discovery of Makemake (2005)