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The Planets

Planet Data For March

Click on any planet below to go straight to its section.

MercuryVenusMarsJupiterSaturnUranusNeptuneObs for All

The table below shows key data for the planets this month, including rise, transit and set times, as well as magnitude, apparent size and position data (right ascension and declination).

Events that occur when the sun is below the horizon are shown with a black background and white text. All other events happen when the sun is in the sky and other for not visible for observation.

In March we lose a few planets in the evening skies, such as Venus, Mars, and Saturn, which are now only viewable in the early morning hours before sunrise.

After the passing of the vernal equinox on Mar 19, we get some amazing views of Mercury, Jupiter and Uranus, just after sunset.  Make sure to not to miss these views!

Sadly Neptune is no longer viewable in the dark sky and we will have to wait for its return next month.

All of the images below can be opened full screen in a new tab by clicking on them


Mercury

05th March

Mercury is just barely visible yet in the night sky, as it resides only 2° over the western horizon, and sets within minutes of the sun.

15th March

Mercury becomes visible for a few minutes in the early evening, and can be found within the constellation Pisces, shining brightly at magnitude -1.1.

25th March

Just after 8pm, Mercury can be seen at 10 degrees above the Western skies.

The month begins with almost no visibility of Mercury in the evening sky, as it sets alongside the evening sun.  It is not easily visible until mid-month when we can start to observe it shortly after sunset.  We get some of our longest views around the 20th and 21st of March, when it will be most visible in the sky.

Mercury reaches its greatest elongation at 19 degrees from the sun on the evening of March 24, and will shine brightly at -0.2 magnitude, brighter than most stars.  It will appear about 38% illuminated and will measure 7.5 arcseconds across.

The planet Mercury will be at some of its best for viewing in the evening for the whole year this month, so don’t miss out on your chance to see this hard-to-see planet.

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Venus

05th March

30 minutes before sunrise and Venus is a only 4° high in the southeastern sky.

15th March

At the roughly the same time ten days later, it’s now a mere 3° high.

25th March

At 6:45am, Venus is just 1° high, but very bright at -3.9 magnitude.

In early March, we begin to lose site of Venus, as it slips below the horizon.  It is only visible in the early morning sky beginning shortly before 6:00am until sunrise.  It’s magnitude holds steady all month at -3.9, with its disk size minimally reducing from 11.1 to 10.3 by the end of the month.

On March 20, Venus passes its aphelion point in its orbit, where it is furthest away from the sun at 0.7272 AU (One AU is an astronomical unit, or the average distance of Earth from the sun, which is approximately 93 million miles.) At its closest, Venus approaches to within 0.7184 AU.  Then on March 22, there is a conjunction of Venus and Saturn, during the daylight hours.

By the end of the month, Venus slips from view in the early morning sky.

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Mars

05th March

At 6am today, Mars is just slightly visible at 4° above the horizon.

15th March

Increasing slightly in the sky to 5°, Mars is visible in the early morning sky.

25th March

Holding steady in the sky, Mars is visible still at 5°, until sunrise.

Mars is still tricky to see in the sky this month.  We’ll only catch a glimpse of it shortly before sunrise each day, but it’s a step in the right direction for it returning to our sky. 

Mars will climb higher each day, away from Venus, as we move further into the beginning of spring.  Mars is faint and far across the solar system now and is shining at only magnitude +1.2.

However as the days pass, it will climb slowly in the sky, growing brighter as we head into April.

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Jupiter

05th March

Jupiter is at its highest point in the sky at 43 degrees, during the first few days of March, and shining brightly in the early evening sky at -2.2 magnitude.

15th March

Ten days later we see some movement. It can now be located at 38°, shortly after sunset, sharing the western region of the sky with Mercury.

25th March

Towards the end of March, and as the sun sets later in the evening, we have less time for viewing our majestic gas giant.

We begin the month of March with Jupiter high in the sky and located in the constellation of Aries.  It’s disk size is slowly decreasing, and by the end of the month will be 33.3 arcseconds wide.

Take advantage of some final optimal viewing of Jupiter, as we begin to see less and less of it in the evening sky, due to later sunsets and its journey towards the sun.

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Saturn

05th March

At 6:30 in the morning, Saturn is below the horizon and not viewable to us.

15th March

As the sun appears, Saturn rises to 2°, but is hard to spot in the morning sky.

25th March

Saturn can be viewed very briefly in the eastern sky, prior to sunrise.

Saturn will be visible low in the eastern sky for early morning risers, but will be tough to see well against backdrop of the rising sun.  By the end of the month, Saturn shines at a steady magnitude +1.0 with a disk size of 15.7 arcseconds in the constellation of Aquarius. 

Saturn will return to the evening skies again in few months.

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Uranus & Neptune

15th March – Uranus

Uranus can be viewed well at 33° high in the early evening sky this month.

15th March – Neptune

Neptune is below the horizon during the month of March.

Uranus is viewable every evening throughout the month of March, however is best viewed in the first half of the month, for its longer duration.  It is at a constant magnitude of +5.8 with a disk size of 3.5 arcseconds, and can be found in the Aries constellation.  Neptune is below the horizon, so it is unviewable during dark skies this month.

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All Planets Viewer

Use the table below to see when each of the planets is observable for each day this month. Click on it for full screen.

A planet is classed as observable when it is more than 10° above the horizon and the sky is dark enough for it to be observed.

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Planet ephemeris tables produced with the kind permission of Dominic Ford. Sky images are courtesy of SkySafari Pro 6.

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