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Monday, February 27, 2023


Southern Skywatch March 2023 edition is now out!

Evening sky on Thursday, March 2 as seen from Adelaide at 20:51 ACDST, (60 minutes after sunset, click to embiggen). Venus is low above the horizon and at it's closest to Jupiter.  You will need a low, unobstructed horizon to see the pair at their best. The inset is the binocular view of the pair.


Similar views will be seen from the rest of Australia at the equivalent local time (60 minutes after sunset). 

The March edition of Southern Skywatch is now up.  

This month the planetary action is still largely in the evening skies, with Venus and Mars prominent and bright, Jupiter is lost in the twilight, mid month Saturn enters the morning twilight twilight and is close to Mercury early in the month.

March 2; Venus and Jupiter at their closest. March 3; Mercury and Saturn close low in the twilight. March 4; apogee Moon. March 7; Full Moon. March 15; Last Quarter Moon. March 20; the thin crescent moon near Saturn in the morning twilight. March 20; Moon at perigee. March 22; New Moon. March 24; the crescent Moon is very close to Venus in the twilight. March 29; First Quarter Moon. March 28; the Moon is close to Mars. March 30, Mars close to open cluster M35. March 31; Venus is just 1.5 degrees from Uranus.

Mercury falls back towards the eastern horizon and is lost to view early in the month, reappearing in the evening twilight late this month. On the 3rd Saturn is about 1 degree from Mercury deep in the twilight. You will need a level, unobstructed horizon and binoculars to see the pair at their best.

  Venus climbs yet higher in the evening sky this month; the low angle of the ecliptic means it never gets really high although it is prominent at nautical twilight by the month Venus is (just) visible when the sky is full dark. Venus has three close encounters this month. The stand out is on the 2nd when Venus and Jupiter are just 0.5 apart, visible well before nautical twilight, difficult telescopically. On the 24th Venus will be just 1° from the crescent moon, making a fine binocular sight. Venus currently looks like a gibbous Moon. On the 31st Venus is just 1.5 degrees from Uranus. 

Earth is at equinox on Tuesday, 21 March. At this time day and night are roughly equal in duration.

Mars is making a line with Aldebaran and the Beta Taurii. At the beginning of the Month Mars also forms a triangle with Beta and Zeta Taurii (the tips of the horns). Mars is shrinking in telescopic view but is still a worthwhile telescopic object this month. By the end of the Month Mars is close to the open cluster M35, an excellent sight in binoculars.  On the 28th Mars is around 4° from the waxing moon (very obvious as the brightest object near the moon), mid power binocular fields will just fit the pair in.

Jupiter is lowering in the north-western evening sky. Venus and Jupiter have been approaching each other all February, and on the 2nd on March they are just 0.5° apart. Jupiter continues to sink towards the horizon and is lost to view around mid month.

Saturn enters the morning skies but is only really visible from mid-March. On the 3rd Saturn is about 1 degree from Mercury deep in the twilight. You will need a level, unobstructed horizon and binoculars to see the pair at their best. On the 20th Saturn is close to the thin crescent moon low in the morning twilight.



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