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Read our March sky notes to find out what’s in the night sky this month!

Map

Constellations

These constellations are well placed in the evening this month, but many more can be seen. Check the star map for more.

Canis Major is visible low above the southern horizon this month, appearing as the sun sets. It is best seen earlier in the month, when it is higher in the sky. Canis Major contains the bright star Sirius, also known as the Dog Star.

Virgo rises due east in the mid to late evening, before making its way across the sky towards the west. It stays in the sky until dawn, and is best seen in the early hours of the morning when it appears highest in the southern sky.

Labelled constellation of Virgo.

Boötes rises in the early evening at the beginning of the month, but can be seen all the way through the night for most of it. Visible until dawn, it is best seen in the hours before sunrise when it is highest in the sky.

Planets

Mercury is too close to the Sun to be easily seen this month. You may be able to see it just before sunrise near the beginning of the month above the eastern horizon. Never point binoculars or a telescope directly at the Sun. Mercury is at dichotomy (half-phase) on the 2nd, and reaches greatest elongation west on the 6th.

Venus is hidden by the light of the Sun this month. It reaches its greatest brightness on the 29th, but will be very difficult to observe low on the western horizon in the morning sky. Never point binoculars or a telescope directly at the Sun.

Mars appears in the western sky at sunset, and sets in the early hours of the morning. As the month goes on, it appears further south and therefore stays longer in the sky.

Jupiter is close to the Sun this month, but can be seen low on the eastern horizon. It rises earlier as the month goes on, so is best seen at the end of the month. Never point binoculars or a telescope directly at the Sun. Jupiter is in conjunction with the Moon on the 10th.

Saturn is still quite close to Jupiter, though they are continuing to move apart. Saturn appears a little higher in the sky, so may be easier to find. It is still close to the Sun, however, so will be a tricky find in eastern sky just before sunrise. Never point binoculars or a telescope directly at the Sun. Saturn is in conjunction with the Moon on the 9th.

Uranus is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. It appears at sunset a little to the south west of Mars, setting earlier as the month goes on.

Neptune is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. It is very close to Mercury in the sky this month, and as such also to the Sun. Therefore it will not be visible.

Moon

Last Quarter: 6th

New Moon: 13th

First Quarter: 21st

Full Moon: 28th

The Moon is at perigee, its closest point to the Earth, on the 2nd and 30th, and apogee, its furthest point from the Earth on the 18th. This effect is not visually apparent.

The Moon is at perihelion, its closest point to the Sun, on the 11th, and aphelion, its furthest point from the Sun on the 1st and 31st. This effect is not visually apparent.

Points of Interest

Asteroid 4 Vesta reaches opposition on the 4th. It lies in the constellation of Leo and will reach its highest point in the sky around midnight in the southern sky. It is visible from 19:34 through to 05:21 GMT.

Asteroid 4 Vesta (23:58 GMT)

Dwarf Planet 136472 Makemake reaches opposition on the 27th. It lies in the constellation of Coma Berencies. Visible from 19:47 through to 00:57 GMT, it will reach its highest point in the sky around midnight above the southern horizon.

Makemake (00:41 GMT)

The March equinox take place on the 20th. On this day, the northern hemisphere experiences exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

Visit Spot the Station to find out when the ISS will be visible from your location.

Last updated: 1st February.

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