The March night sky will have many beautiful highlights, including Jupiter “kissing” Venus and Mercury, the Full Worm Moon, and an opportunity to witness how the Moon moves west to east in the sky over the course of the month. (See March 23+24.)
Plan your stargazing activities this month with our helpful calendar and details below …
Bookmark this page now (Press command + D on your keyboard) so you can easily refer to it over the next few weeks. If you’re interested in locating particular planets in the sky throughout the year, take a look at our visible planets guide here.
March 1 – Jupiter Kisses Venus
Look west approximately one half hour after sunset to witness Jupiter “kissing” Venus. These two bright planets will appear to nearly touch. Over the course of the last month, they have slowly been floating towards each other. (We called your attention to this on Valentine’s Day in our February Night Sky Guide.)
As the days go on, Venus and Jupiter will drift apart. Venus will rise higher in the sky, but Jupiter will sink towards the setting Sun, eventually becoming obscured by its bright light.
The following image of the crescent Moon with Jupiter (left) and Venus (right) was captured by Andrew McCarthy of Cosmic Background on February 23, 2023:
March 7 – Full Worm Moon
The Full Worm Moon reaches peak illumination at 7:40 a.m. EST.
March 12 – Daylight Saving Time
Daylight Saving Time returns on this second Sunday in March. Except in the states of Arizona and Hawaii, and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, clocks are to be moved forward one hour at 2:00 a.m. The mnemonic is: “Spring forward, fall back.”
March 14 – Last Quarter Moon
The last quarter Moon is at 10:08 p.m. EDT.
March 17 – Mercury Conjunction
Mercury reaches superior conjunction on St. Patrick’s Day. Superior conjunction occurs when any planet disappears behind the Sun as the planet orbits around it. Fast-moving Mercury quickly reemerges from the Sun’s glow to become an evening star by month’s end (See March 27).
March 20 – Spring Equinox
The Sun arrives at spring equinox at 5:24 p.m. EDT. At this moment, the Sun crosses the celestial equator and heads north (until summer solstice). This event inaugurates spring in the Northern Hemisphere (and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere).
March 21 – New Moon “Star View” with Leo
The new Moon is at 1:23 p.m. EDT. New Moons are excellent times to view stars because the bright light of the Moon does not obscure the night sky! On this night, we recommend looking for the constellation Leo! Look high in the south-southeast sky at 9:30 p.m. local time. (Local time means it is true no matter what time zone you are in.)
Leo the Lion is regarded as one of the most ancient constellations in the sky. Six stars in Leo appear to form a large stellar “Sickle.” The brightest of these is the blue-white star Regulus. Regulus is 79 light years away, and has luminosity 316 times that of our Sun. Algeiba, in the blade of the Sickle, appears as a single star to the naked eye. However, as a telescope of only moderate size will clearly show, it is really one of the most beautiful double stars in the sky.
Eastward from the Sickle there is a right triangle of stars which also belongs to Leo. At the eastern point of this triangle you will find Denebola, which marks the tip of the Lion’s tail.
March 22 – Jupiter
Look west, low on the western horizon, about an hour after sunset for Jupiter. Hovering about one degree to its upper left will be an extremely thin (2% sunlit) waxing crescent Moon. We recommend using binoculars.
March 23+24 – Moon Tracks with Venus
Did you know that the Moon moves right to left (west to east) over the course of the month? (This is the opposite direction that it appears to move on any given night.) Get a glimpse of its true motion as it orbits the Earth by using Venus as a landmark on these two nights! (Venus is much slower moving than the Moon, so it makes a great reference point.)
On the first night, March 23, the waxing crescent Moon will be positioned to the lower right of Venus. The following night, it will be positioned to the upper left.
If either of these two nights happens to be cloudy or foggy, rest assured there will be many other chances to track the Moon in the future. Stick with us!
March 24 – Saturn
Saturn is hiding in the light of the rising Sun in early March, but it begins to emerge low in the east-southeastern dawn glow during the final week of the month. From this point forth, it becomes a “morning star.”
March 27 – Rare Sky Event: Parade Of Planets – Mars, Uranus, Venus, Jupiter, And Mercury Together!
Look west approximately 20 minutes after sunset to catch Jupiter and Mercury side by side (similar to how Jupiter and Venus were side by side on March 1). We recommend using binoculars for a better view. Learn how to see all five planets in the Parade of Planets 2023.
As Jupiter sinks lower in the sky towards the setting Sun, Mercury appears to rise higher in the sky each night. Mercury is about as bright as the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, but only half as bright as Jupiter.
Over the next few days, Jupiter will disappear, but Mercury will dazzle in the early evening sky well into April.
March 28 – First Quarter Moon And Mars
The first quarter Moon is at 10:32 p.m. EDT. Hanging five degrees to the lower right is the planet Mars.
Over the course of this month, the Earth has receeded from Mars by more than 896,000 miles each day. The planet’s brightness has diminished from magnitude +0.4 to +1.0.
Did you know that you can use the size of your hand to judge distances between objects in space? See our illustration below:
Magnitudes refer to the brightness of an object in space. The lower the number, the more dazzling it is. Bright stars are 1 or 0 magnitude. Fainter ones are 5 or 6. Super bright stars are in negative numbers. For instance, Sirius is magnitude -1.4. (For reference, the full Moon is -12.7 and the Sun is -26.7.)
All times and positions are listed in Eastern Standard Time, 40 degrees north of the equator.
If the time is designated as “local,” it is true for every time zone (no adding or subtracting hours is necessary). Any mentions of sunset, midnight, and sunrise are true for every time zone in the United States.
Join The Discussion
Which March night sky event are you looking forward to seeing?
Let us know in the comments below!