Astronomy Essentials

Visible planets and night sky for February and March

Late February and early March mornings: Venus and Mars

Venus – the brightest planet – is now approaching the eastern horizon before sunup. It’ll disappear into the sunrise glare in March. Meanwhile, Mars is climbing higher each day, moving away from brilliant Venus. The moon will sweep past this pair on March 7 and 8. And Mars will remain faint and in our morning skies for most of 2024. Then, around the September equinox in 2024, Mars will start becoming noticeable! By the year’s end, it’ll shine brightly at -1.2 magnitude. Its next opposition will come in January 2025. Read more about Mars in 2024.

Visible planets: Dots and arrows for Mars and Venus in late February.
Chart via EarthSky.

Our charts are mostly set for the northern half of Earth. To see a precise view – and time – from your location, try Stellarium Online.

February 26 – March 11: Zodiacal light

The zodiacal light – a hazy pyramid of light, really sunlight reflecting off dusk grains that move in the plane of our solar system – may be visible after evening twilight for Northern Hemisphere observers in the coming weeks. Southern Hemisphere observers? Look for it before morning twilight begins. Read about the zodiacal light.

We’re 39 days from eclipse day! Eclipses in fiction

February 29, 2024, is 39 days until eclipse day. Join us for a countdown! In this episode, Kelly Kizer Whitt recounts eclipses depicted by famous writers.

Read about the total solar eclipse.

Moon phases in February

Read more: 4 keys to understanding moon phases

March 2, 3, and 4 mornings: Moon near Antares

On the mornings of March 2, 3 and 4, 2024, the moon will be near the bright star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion. In fact, at 9 UTC on March 3, 2024, skywatchers in parts of the Americas, Caribbean, Ascension Islands and Africa will see the last quarter moon pass in front of – or occult – Antares.

White dots for the moon and stars on March 2, 3, and 4.
Chart by EarthSky.

March 3: Last quarter moon

The instant of last quarter moon will fall at 15:23 UTC on March 3, 2024 (9:23 a.m. CST). It’ll rise around midnight your local time and will set before noon. Look for it high in the sky before dawn.

Our charts are mostly set for the northern half of Earth. To see a precise view – and time – from your location, try Stellarium Online.

March evenings: Look for Auriga the Charioteer

The bright star Capella is almost overhead this month and will lead you to the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. To be sure you’ve found Capella, look for a little triangle of stars nearby. Capella is sometimes called the Goat Star, and the little triangle of stars is an asterism called The Kids. After finding Capella, you can trace out the rest of this pentagon-shaped group of stars. Under dark skies, use binoculars to see the three fine Messier objects listed on the chart below, M36, M37 and M38. They are open star clusters with distinct personalities when viewed with magnification.

Star chart showing the constellation Auriga with stars and other objects labeled.
Chart by EarthSky.

March 7 and 8 mornings: Moon near Venus and Mars

In the morning twilight of March 7 and 8, 2024, the slender waning crescent moon will float near bright Venus and a much dimmer Mars. On March 7, the lit portion of the moon will point toward the two planets. On the morning of March 8, the trio forms a triangle low on the horizon. Binoculars might help locate them about 30 to 40 minutes before sunrise.

A star for Venus and dots for the moon and Mars on March 7 and 8.
Chart by EarthSky.

Daylight saving time begins March 10

For those observing daylight saving time, set your clocks forward 1 hour.

March 10: New moon

The instant of new moon will fall at 9 UTC (4 a.m. CDT) on March 10, 2024. It’s a perfect time for stargazing under dark skies. The new moon rises and sets with the sun. This is the 3rd new supermoon of 2024 and the 3rd of five new supermoons in a row. It’s 221,767 miles (356,900 km) away from Earth.

March 10: Moon reaches perigee

The moon will reach perigee – its closest point in its elliptical orbit around Earth – at 7 UTC (1 a.m. CDT) on March 10, 2024, when it’s 221,763 miles (356,893 km) away. High tides are possible.

Our charts are mostly set for the northern half of Earth. To see a precise view – and time – from your location, try Stellarium Online.

March evenings: Look for Gemini the Twins

On March evenings, the constellation Gemini the Twins is high overhead on the sky’s dome. Look for the bright – and obvious – “twin” stars, Castor and Pollux. These two stars aren’t really twins. Pollux is brighter and more golden. Castor is slightly fainter and white. But both stars are bright, and they’re noticeable for being close together on the sky’s dome. You may need dark skies to locate the rest of the constellation. In March, the constellation is highest around 9 p.m. That’s your local time, no matter where you are on the globe. You can use binoculars to see a nice open star cluster listed on the chart below, M35.

Star chart showing the stars of the constellation Gemini the Twins, with Castor, Pollux, Alhena and M35 marked.
Image via EarthSky.

March 11 and 12 evenings: Thin crescent moon

The thin waxing crescent moon will hang in the western twilight on the evenings of March 11 and 12, 2024. Do you notice a lovely glow on the unlit side of the moon? That’s earthshine! It’s reflected light from the Earth.

White dots for the moon on March 11 and 12.
Chart by EarthSky.

March 13 and 14 evenings: Moon near Jupiter and the Pleiades

On the evenings of March 13 and 14, 2024, the waxing crescent moon will glow near the bright planet Jupiter. The moon and Jupiter will set around midnight. You will also see the tiny dipper-shaped Pleiades star cluster, or Seven Sisters, nearby. The moon will lie especially close to the Pleiades on March 14. They’ll set around midnight.

White dots for the moon, Jupiter and star cluster on March 13 and 14.
Chart by EarthSky.

Our charts are mostly set for the northern half of Earth. To see a precise view – and time – from your location, try Stellarium Online.

March 15 and 16 evenings: Moon near Aldebaran and Pleiades

The thick waxing crescent moon will lie near the Pleiades star cluster on the evenings of March 15 and 16, 2024. The Pleiades is also known as the Seven Sisters, or Messier 45. It appears as a glittering, bluish cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus the Bull. Meanwhile, what is that fiery orange star nearby? It’s Aldebaran, Eye of the Bull in Taurus. The moon, Pleiades and Aldebaran will cross the sky together and set after midnight.

White dots for the moon, a star and star cluster on March 15 and 16.
Chart by EarthSky.

March 17: 1st quarter moon

The instant of 1st quarter moon will fall at 4:11 UTC on March 17, 2024 (10:11 p.m. CDT on March 16). A 1st quarter moon rises around noon your local time and sets around midnight. Watch for it high in the sky at sundown.

Our charts are mostly set for the northern half of Earth. To see a precise view – and time – from your location, try Stellarium Online.

March 17 and 18 evenings: Moon near Pollux and Castor

On the evenings of March 17 and 18, 2024, the bright waxing gibbous moon will pass Pollux and Castor, the “twin” stars of Gemini. They’re named for twin brothers born from different fathers. So, they don’t really look alike. Pollux is a bit brighter and golden in color. And Castor appears white. They’ll rise before sunset and travel across the sky’s dome until a little before sunrise.

White dots for the moon and two stars on March 17 and 18.
Chart by EarthSky.

March 20: March Equinox

The March equinox marks the sun’s crossing above the Earth’s equator, moving from south to north. It’ll happen at 3:06 UTC on March 20, 2024 (9:06 p.m. CDT on March 19). It marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.

Our charts are mostly set for the northern half of Earth. To see a precise view – and time – from your location, try Stellarium Online.

March 20 and 21 evenings: Moon near Regulus

On the evenings of March 22 and 23, 2024, the fat waxing gibbous moon will float near the bright star Regulus, the brightest star in Leo the Lion. They’ll be visible through dawn.

White dots for the moon and a star on March 20 and 21.
Chart by EarthSky.

Moon at apogee March 23

The moon will reach apogee – its farthest distance from Earth in its elliptical orbit around Earth – at 16 UTC (10 a.m. CDT) on March 23, 2024, when it’s 252,459 miles (406,293 km) away.

March 24 and 25: Full Worm Moon and penumbral lunar eclipse

The instant of full moon – the Worm Moon – will fall at 7 UTC (1 a.m. CDT) on March 25, 2024. It’ll be the second smallest – most distant – full moon in 2024 at 251,900 miles (405,394 km) away. Also, if the moon is above the horizon, you can see a penumbral lunar eclipse. People in parts of Antarctica, the western half of Africa, western Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the Americas, the Pacific Ocean, Japan and the eastern half of Australia will see a deep penumbral lunar eclipse. The penumbral eclipse begins at 4:53 UTC on March 25, 2024 (10:53 p.m. CDT on March 24).

March 24 evening: Mercury at greatest evening elongation

Mercury is farthest from the sun on our sky’s dome – at greatest elongation – at 23 UTC on March 24, 2024 (5 p.m. CDT). At that time, Mercury is 19 degrees from the sun in our sky. This will be its best evening apparition of 2024 for the Northern Hemisphere.

Mercury reaches Greatest Eastern Elongation on March 24.
Chart by EarthSky.

Our charts are mostly set for the northern half of Earth. To see a precise view – and time – from your location, try Stellarium Online.

March 25 and 26 evenings: Moon near Spica

On the evenings of March 25 and 26, 2024, the waning gibbous moon will hang near the bright star Spica in Virgo the Maiden. They’ll rise soon after sunset and be visible until sunrise.

White dots for the moon and a star on March 25 and 26.
Chart by EarthSky.

March 27 to April 10: Zodiacal light

The zodiacal light may be visible after evening twilight for Northern Hemisphere observers for the next two weeks. Southern Hemisphere observers? Look for it before morning twilight begins.

March evenings: Look for the Winter Triangle

The Winter Triangle isn’t a constellation. It’s an asterism, made of three bright stars in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter sky (or the Southern Hemisphere’s summer sky). Procyon, Sirius and Betelgeuse are easy to find on winter and spring evenings. It’s also part of a larger asterism, the Winter Circle. And locating bright stars can help you find constellations. Sirius is in Canis Major, Procyon is in Canis Minor and Betelgeuse is in Orion the Hunter.

Procyon, Betelgeuse and Sirius form a triangle.
Chart via EarthSky.

Our charts are mostly set for the northern half of Earth. To see a precise view – and time – from your location, try Stellarium Online.

March 30 and 31 mornings: Moon near Antares

On the mornings of March 30 and 31, 2024, the waning gibbous moon will lie close to the bright star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion. In fact, at 15 UTC on March 30, 2024, skywatchers in parts of northeast Melanesia, Micronesia and most of Polynesia will see the moon pass in front of – or occult – Antares.

White dots for the moon and stars in Scorpios on March 30 and 31.
Chart by EarthSky.

Visible planets in February 2024

Late February mornings: Venus and Mars

By the end of February, Venus will slowly be approaching the horizon before disappearing from the morning sky in March. And Mars will be climbing higher each day away from brilliant Venus. Mars remains a morning object through all of 2024.

Dots and arrows for Mars and Venus in late February.
Chart via EarthSky.

February evenings: Jupiter

Bright Jupiter will draw your attention until around midnight in February 2024. It will be obvious high in the sky at sunset and will be visible until around midnight. It will shine near the pretty Pleiades star cluster in the constellation Taurus the Bull. Jupiter reached perihelion – or closest point to Earth – in early November. And it reached opposition overnight on November 2-3, 2023, when we flew between it and the sun. So, as Jupiter recedes from Earth, it’ll fade a bit in our sky. It will lie in the dim constellation Aries the Ram, and it’ll shine at -2.2 magnitude by month’s end. The 1st quarter moon will float by Jupiter on February 15, 2024.

White dots for Jupiter, Pleiades and Aries in February.
Chart via EarthSky.

Where’s Saturn?

Saturn will be in conjunction with the sun on February 28, 2024 and emerge in the morning twilight toward the end of March.

Our charts are mostly set for the northern half of Earth. To see a precise view – and time – from your location, try Stellarium Online.

Visible planets in March 2024

Early March mornings: Venus and Mars

The brightest planet is Venus, and at the beginning of March it will be low in the morning twilight descending more each day. At the same time, Mars climbs slowly higher each day but will remain challenging to spot in the morning twilight. It’ll be fun to watch them grow apart. Venus will disappear before mid-month. When is the last day you catch Venus in the sky? Once Venus slips away, it won’t be visible again until it pops up in the evening sky in August. Also, a thin waning crescent moon will visit Venus and Mars on the mornings of March 7 and 8, 2024. The pair will be easiest to spot in binoculars.

Here’s a binocular view of Venus and Mars as they move away from each other at the beginning of March.

Large brown circle with dots for Venus and Mars showing them on March 1 with arrows moving opposite directions.
Chart by EarthSky.

Mid-March mornings: Mars

Mars will become easier to identify in the morning twilight, rising about an hour before sunrise. Although you probably won’t see them in the morning twilight, Mars will lie in front of the constellation of Capricornus the Sea-goat and will move into Aquarius the Water Bearer near the end of the month. Mars remains a morning object through all of 2024.

Dot for Mars in the March morning sky.
Chart by EarthSky.

March evenings: Jupiter

Bright Jupiter is easy to spot in the March 2024 evening sky. However, it is losing altitude and brightness as it descends closer to the sun. It will set about five hours after the sun at the beginning of the month, and about three hours after sunset by month’s end. It will shine near the pretty Pleiades star cluster in the constellation Taurus the Bull. Jupiter reached opposition overnight on November 2-3, 2023, when we flew between it and the sun. So, as Jupiter recedes from Earth, it’ll fade a bit in our sky. It will reach opposition again on December 7, 2024, so it’ll be at its brightest for the year around then. It will lie in the dim constellation Aries the Ram, and it’ll shine at -2.1 magnitude by month’s end. The waxing crescent moon will float by Jupiter on March 13, 2024.

White dot for Jupiter in March.
Chart by EarthSky.

March evenings: Mercury

The bright but elusive planet Mercury emerges during the second week of the month and quickly rises to prominence after sunset. This will be Mercury’s best evening apparition for the Northern Hemisphere in 2024. It’ll reach its greatest distance from the sun on the evening of March 24. And then, it’ll fade quickly and be gone by the end of the month. Bright Jupiter will be higher in the sky.

An arrow and dots for Mercury and Jupiter in March for the Northern Hemisphere.
Chart by EarthSky.

Where’s Saturn?

You probably won’t see Saturn this month.

Thank you to all who submit images to EarthSky Community Photos! View community photos here. We love you all. Submit your photo here.

Looking for a dark sky? Check out EarthSky’s Best Places to Stargaze.

Sky dome maps for visible planets and night sky

The sky dome maps come from master astronomy chart-maker Guy Ottewell. You’ll find charts like these for every month of 2024 in his Astronomical Calendar.

Guy Ottewell explains sky dome maps

Circle constellations, planets, the moon, the Milky Way and celestial lines.
Here is the sky dome view for February 2024. It shows what is above the horizon at mid-evening for mid-northern latitudes. The view may vary depending on your location. Image via Guy Ottewell’s 2024 Astronomical Calendar. Used with permission.
Circle constellations, planets, the moon, the Milky Way and celestial lines.
Here is the sky dome view for March 2024. It shows what is above the horizon at mid-evening for mid-northern latitudes. The view may vary depending on your location. Image via Guy Ottewell’s 2024 Astronomical Calendar. Used with permission.

Heliocentric solar system visible planets and more

The sun-centered charts come from Guy Ottewell. You’ll find charts like these for every month of 2024 in his Astronomical Calendar.

Guy Ottewell explains heliocentric charts.

Circle with sun at center, planets around, and zodiac names on outer edge.
Heliocentric view of solar system, February 2024. Chart via Guy Ottewell’s 2024 Astronomical Calendar. Used with permission.
Circle with sun at center, planets around, and zodiac names on outer edge.
Heliocentric view of solar system, March 2024. Chart via Guy Ottewell’s 2024 Astronomical Calendar. Used with permission.

Some resources to enjoy

For more videos of great night sky events, visit EarthSky’s YouTube page.

Watch EarthSky’s video about Two Great Solar Eclipses Coming Up

Don’t miss anything. Subscribe to daily emails from EarthSky. It’s free!

Visit EarthSky’s Best Places to Stargaze to find a dark-sky location near you.

Post your own night sky photos at EarthSky Community Photos.

Translate Universal Time (UTC) to your time.

See the indispensable Observer’s Handbook, from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Visit Stellarium-Web.org for precise views from your location.

Almanac: Bright visible planets (rise and set times for your location).

Visit TheSkyLive for precise views from your location.

Illustration of mythological constellations in the sky.
Attention amateur astronomers! Guy Ottewell’s popular and informative Astronomical Calendar for 2024 is available in both electronic and printed versions.

Bottom line: Visible planets in February and March. We’re 39 days from eclipse day! Look at Venus approaching the horizon before it disappears from the morning sky in March. And see Mars climbing higher each day away from brilliant Venus.

Posted 
February 29, 2024
 in 
Astronomy Essentials

Like what you read?
Subscribe and receive daily news delivered to your inbox.

Your email address will only be used for EarthSky content. Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

More from 

Marcy Curran

View All