Astronomy Essentials

Visible planets and night sky March 2023

Don’t miss the moon near Mars and the Pleiades around the evenings of March 26 and 27, 2023. The thickening waxing crescent moon is near Mars and the glittering star cluster of the Pleiades. Also nearby are the reddish stars Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus the Bull, and Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion the Hunter. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

On March 24, people around Bangladesh, Hong Kong and Malaysia saw the moon occult – or pass in front of – the planet Venus. See a photo gallery of some of our favorite moon-Venus occultation photos.

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Visible planets (evening, in text)

Visible planets (morning, in text)

Sky dome maps

Heliocentric solar system

Some resources to enjoy

March 27-28 evening: Mercury-Jupiter conjunction

By late March, Jupiter will be mostly gone from our evening twilight sky. But, on March 27-28, 2023, Mercury and Jupiter will have a conjunction, very low in the west after sunset. The planets will be a little over 1 degree apart. That’s about 2 full moon diameters. They’ll be a challenge to spot, but Venus will stand out above them, and might help you locate them. They’ll be on a line between Venus and the sunset. After these evenings, Mercury will continue to climb higher each night, as Jupiter dives into the sunset. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

March 28 and 29 evenings: Moon near Mars, Castor and Pollux

Don’t miss the 1st quarter moon near Mars around the evening of March 28, 2023. The following night, March 29, you can spot the waxing gibbous moon near the twin stars Castor and Pollux in Gemini the Twins. Although the twin stars don’t look alike, they are quite noticeable near each other in the sky because they’re bright and close together. Castor is the slightly dimmer star of the pair, and Pollux is more golden in color. By the way, the moon doesn’t set until around midnight, so you can see the moon near Castor and Pollux all evening. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

The instant of 1st quarter moon is 2:32 UTC on March 29 (9:32 p.m. CDT on March 28)

March 30 evening: Moon near the Beehive

On March 30, 2023, the waxing gibbous moon lies near the Beehive star cluster in Cancer the Crab. The twin stars – Castor and Pollux – of Gemini the Twins are also close to the moon. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky.

March 30 evening: Binocular view of the moon and the Beehive

A binocular view of the waxing gibbous moon and the Beehive star cluster in Cancer the Crab on March 30, 2023. Chart via John Jardine Goss/ EarthSky

Visible planets (evening, March 2023, in text)

Venus, the brightest planet, is climbing higher in the west after sunset each night. And – wowsers! – it’s very close to the 2nd-brightest planet, Jupiter, the first day of March. Indeed, they’ll be super noticeable … ready to dazzle you! In fact, they’ll remain close all week. Jupiter spends the rest of the month descending further into the sunset glare and then sinks out of view later in the month. So, enjoy watching these two bright worlds in the western twilight. Also, don’t miss them near the waxing crescent moon, when it visits Jupiter on March 22 and Venus on March 23 and 24. In addition, Jupiter pairs up with bright Mercury on March 27.
Mars, meanwhile, is well placed in the evening sky, noticeably red in color, setting a few hours after midnight. By month’s end, Mars will blend in with the other 1st-magnitude stars, as it shrinks and fades after its recent opposition on December 8, 2022. Earth flew between Mars and the sun in December. Now Earth is fleeing ahead of Mars in our smaller, faster orbit around the sun. And as a result, Mars is fading day by day. Later, the moon will sweep past Mars on March 28.
Mercury returns to the evening sky at month’s end and passes close to Jupiter on March 27.

Visible planets (morning, March 2023, in text)

Saturn is emerging in the morning sky by mid-month but still close to the sun, so it may be difficult to find until later in March.

Also, people often ask if our charts apply to them. Yes, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere. Not as precisely, however, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Our charts are mostly set for the northern half of Earth. To see a precise view from your location, try the free online planetarium program at

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 2023 in his Astronomical Calendar. Guy explains:

The sky dome map for each month shows what is above the horizon at a convenient (local) evening time for latitude 40 degrees north. If you travel north, stars at the south edge of the map disappear; at the north edge others spend more time above the horizon.

You can see the relation between the map and sky by holding the map over your face. The central point of the map is the overhead point, or zenith. Orient the map so the direction you are facing (east, west, north or south) is at the bottom.

Stars are shown down to magnitude 5.5, so you might require a dark sky to see some of the dimmer stars shown or the Milky Way. Also, the map only shows the more conspicuous constellations.

Planets are shown on the 16th of the month in the mid-evening sky, with symbols sized for brightness like the stars. All planets are visible to the unaided eye except Neptune. Furthermore, planets in the sky after midnight and in the twilight sky near sunset or sunrise will not appear on the sky dome maps.

The moon is shown (exaggerated 8 times in size) at 0 UTC on the days when it is at first quarter and full phases. This is 7 p.m EST on the previous day. It is also in its geocentric position, that is, without parallax; as seen from northern latitudes, it is slightly farther south.

Major meteor showers are indicated by bursts of lines pointing out from their radiant. But some are not shown, because their radiants are not in view at map time.

The ecliptic is drawn as a thick curve. It marks the plane in which the Earth revolves around the sun.

The celestial equator curves from the east point to the west point of each map. At declination 0, it is the only line of declination shown. Ticks along it are at the 24 hours of right ascension.

View larger. | Here is the sky dome view for March 2023. 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. Used with permission.

Heliocentric solar system planets

The sun-centered charts come from Guy Ottewell. You’ll find charts like these for every month of 2023 here, in his Astronomical Calendar. Guy Ottewell explains:

In these views from ecliptic north, arrows (thinner when south of the ecliptic plane) are the paths of the four inner planets. Dots along the rest of the orbits are five days apart (and are black for the part of its course that a planet has trodden since the beginning of the year). Also, semicircles show the sunlit side of the new and full moon (vastly exaggerated in size and distance). Additionally, pairs of lines point outward to the more remote planets.

Phenomena such as perihelia (represented by ticks) and conjunctions (represented by lines between planets) are at dates that can be found in the Astronomical Calendar. Likewise, gray covers the half of the universe below the horizon around 10 p.m. at mid-month (as seen from the equator). The zodiacal constellations are in directions from the Earth at mid-month (not from the sun).

View larger. | Heliocentric view of solar system, March 2023. Chart via Guy Ottewell. Used with permission.

Some resources to enjoy

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 for precise views from your location.

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

Visit TheSkyLive for precise views from your location.

Great resource and beautiful wall chart: Guy Ottewell’s zodiac wavy chart.

Amateur astronomers are buzzing! Guy Ottewell is offering his beloved Astronomical Calendar for 2023 in both electronic and printed versions.

Guy Ottewell’s Zodiac Wavy Chart is a 2-by-3 foot (0.6 by 0.9 meter) poster displaying the movements of the sun, moon and planets throughout the year. You can purchase it here. Image via Guy Ottewell.

March visible Planets. Venus is the “evening star.” See Jupiter before it’s gone, it meets up with Mercury on Monday, March 27. Mars is high in the evening sky. Look for Saturn low on the horizon before dawn.

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March 26, 2023
Astronomy Essentials

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