March 2023 Night Sky

Taken using Stellarium

February came and went quickly as it normally does. The days are getting longer and several interesting objects are beginning to compete with sunset for visibility before setting themselves.

Venus and Jupiter are in conjunction on March 1st. If you missed it, they will still be close together on the 2nd with them drifting further apart each day. Venus will be visible all month getting higher each day, with Jupiter sinking lower and getting harder to see as it sets close to the sun in the early evening. Mars will be visible all month, getting less and less bright as the distance from Earth increases.

On the 23rd, Venus, the Moon and Jupiter all line up around sunset, low on the horizon almost due west.

For the astrophotographers out there, March is the start of galaxy season! In in the spring, due to the axial tilt of our planet, we are looking above the plane of the Milky Way into sky less obscured by local dust and stars. In fall, we look below the plane of the Milky Way, but that area of sky has fewer interesting targets for astrophotographers.
A great explanation can be found here along with some impressive star maps showing the density of interesting targets.

Remember, the clocks spring forward on Sunday, March 12th at 2 AM which for some of us means more waiting around after work for the sun to set!

See Jeff Stetekluh’s Observing Corner for detailed astronomical calculations: Jeff’s Corner

The Sun
  Mar 12  rises at 7:24 AM, sets at 7:12 PM

The Moon
  Mar  7  Full Moon
  Mar 14  Last Quarter
  Mar 21  New Moon
  Mar 28  First Quarter

  Mar 12  EDT starts
  Mar 15  Neptune is in conjunction with the Sun (from Espenak)
  Mar 17  Mercury is in superior conjunction (from Espenak)
  Mar 20  Vernal equinox (from Espenak)

The Planets
                        Mar 12
               rises  transits      sets
  Mercury    7:23 AM   1:05 PM   6:47 PM
  Venus      8:46 AM   3:20 PM   9:55 PM
  Mars      11:47 AM   7:21 PM   2:57 AM
  Jupiter    8:26 AM   2:43 PM   9:00 PM
  Saturn     6:40 AM  12:01 PM   5:22 PM

            mag   diam  notes for Mar 12
           ----  -----  ----------------
  Mercury  -1.4   4.9"                  
  Venus    -4.0  12.8"  WSW, 31*        
  Mars      0.7   7.4"  S, 77*          
  Jupiter  -2.1  33.6"  W, 21*          
  Saturn    0.9  15.4"                                
  (* degrees elevation at sunset taking into account atmospheric refraction)
  (mag = apparent magnitude, diam = apparent equatorial angular diameter)
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on linkedin

One Comment

  1. Andrei Florescu March 1, 2023 at 9:58 pm

    I came home around 6:30pm and looking west saw an unusual celestial phenomenon that was not moving, so I concluded it was not a plane. What in the world could it be? I opened the sky safari and identified this strange position of Venus and Mars
    A little later I read the email I received from you and everything was clear. I tried to see this from my porch, but it was hidden by the house. All in all, an interesting night that made my day, so to speak.

Leave A Comment

Go to Top