The night sky this evening and on any clear nighttime offers an ever-changing display of fascinating objects you tin can see, from stars and constellations to brilliant planets, often the moon, and sometimes special events similar meteor showers. Observing the dark heaven can be done with no special equipment, although a sky map can be very useful, and a proficient beginner telescope or binoculars volition enhance some experiences and bring some otherwise invisible objects into view. You tin also apply astronomy accessories to make your observing easier, and use our Satellite Tracker page powered by N2YO.com to detect out when to see the International Space Station and other satellites. Read on to find out what’southward upwardly in the night heaven tonight (Planets Visible Now, Moon Phases, Observing Highlights This Month) plus other resources (Skywatching Terms, Night Sky Observing Tips and Further Reading).
You can also capture the night heaven by using any of the best cameras for astrophotography, forth with a selection of the best lenses for astrophotography.
Monthly skywatching data is provided to Space.com by Chris Vaughan of Starry Night Education, the leader in space scientific discipline curriculum solutions. Follow Starry Night on Twitter @StarryNightEdu and Chris at @Astrogeoguy.
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Dark Sky Guides:
- When, where and how to see the planets in the 2022 night sky
- The top skywatching events to await for in 2022
- Best nighttime sky events of March 2022 (Stargazing Maps)
- Space calendar 2022: Rocket launches, sky events, missions & more
Calendar of observing highlights
Tuesday, March 1 – Mars Marches with Venus (predawn)
During near of March, the planets Venus and March will be shining together in the southeastern sky earlier dawn — making a terrific photograph opportunity. On any clear morning, find extremely bright Venus in the lower part of the southeastern sky, and and so expect for 250 times fainter Mars positioned a slim palm’s width below it. On March 1, the magnitude 7.six minor planet (four) Vesta will exist located a thumb’s width above Mars. The two planets volition be travelling eastward almost the ecliptic until mid-month. After that, Venus will swing sunward while Mars is carried west with the rest of the stars.
Midweek, March two – Mercury Passes Saturn (predawn)
Wait depression in the east-southeastern sky at dawn on the mornings centered on Wednesday, March 2 to see the speedy planet Mercury pass close to Saturn. The 2 planets will be binoculars-close (big green circle) from Monday to Friday, with Mercury approaching from the upper correct (celestial westward). At closest approach on Wed morning, twice equally bright Mercury will sit down only a finger’s width to the lower right (or 0.seven degrees to the celestial due south) of Saturn — shut plenty for them to share the view in a backyard telescope (small green circle). On the following mornings Mercury will shift to Saturn’s lower left. The conjunction will be more easily seen from southerly latitudes, where the planets will shine higher, and in a darker sky. (For eye prophylactic, plow all optical aids abroad from the eastern horizon before sunrise.)
Wednesday, March 2 – New Moon (at 17:35 GMT)
At 12:35 p.m. EST or 17:35 GMT on Wednesday, March two, the moon will officially reach its new moon phase. At that time information technology will be located approximately v.v degrees southward of the lord’s day, in Aquarius. While at the new phase, the moon is travelling betwixt World and the lord’s day. Since sunlight can merely reach the far side of a new moon, and the moon is in the same region of the sky as the dominicus, our natural satellite becomes completely hidden from view for about a day.
Saturday, March v – Mars Passes Messier 75 (predawn)
In the southeastern sky before dawn sky on Saturday, March 5, the path of the carmine planet Mars (labeled rails with date:time) will behave it close to a globular star cluster known every bit Messier 75 and NGC 6864. The planet and the cluster will be close enough to one another to share the view in a backyard telescope (greenish circle) from Friday to Sun. At closest approach on Sabbatum, Mars will sit a finger’s width to the upper left (or 0.vii degrees to the celestial n) of the magnitude 9.two cluster — but your optics may flip and/or invert that organisation. Observers at southerly latitudes, where Mars will sit college, will go improve views of the event. The dwarf planet Pluto volition be located simply ane.5 degrees to the west of that cluster, likewise — merely that extremely faint object is beyond the reach of backyard telescopes.
Sun, March 6 – Crescent Moon Meets Uranus (evening)
In the western heaven after dusk on Sunday, March vi, the waxing crescent moon will be located a short distance below (or angelic west) of the magnitude 6.viii planet Uranus. Past the time Uranus sets in late evening, the moon’south orbital motion will have carried it closer to the planet, specially for observers in the western Americas. Observers in parts of eastern Antarctica, southeastern Australia, southeastern Melanesia, and southwestern Polynesia can picket the moon occult Uranus in the period effectually 07:30 GMT.
Tuesday, March 8 – Crescent Moon and Ceres in Taurus (evening)
In the western sky on Tuesday evening, March 8, the nearly one-half-illuminated moon volition shine amongst the stars of Taurus, the Bull. The prominent Pleiades star cluster volition exist positioned several finger widths to the moon’s correct (angelic northwest) and the vivid, orange star Aldebaran will appear twice every bit far on the moon’s upper left. To amend see the Pleiades’ stars, go along the moon beyond the left side of your binoculars’ field of view (light-green circle). Over several hours, the orbital motion of the moon (light-green line) will lift it higher compared to the surrounding stars and towards the magnitude 8.8 small planet Ceres. During a period around 08:45 GMT on Wednesday, March 9, observers in western and northern Australia, eastern Indonesia, Papua New Republic of guinea, northern Melanesia, Micronesia, and northern Polynesia (except Hawaii) can meet the moon occult Ceres.
Th, March 10 – Offset Quarter Moon (at x:45 GMT)
When the moon completes the commencement quarter of its orbit effectually Globe at five:45 a.m. EST (or 10:45 GMT) on Thursday, March 10, the relative positions of the Earth, sunday, and moon will crusade u.s.a. to see our natural satellite one-half-illuminated – on its eastern side. While at start quarter, the moon ever rises effectually noon and sets around midnight, allowing information technology to be seen in the afternoon daytime sky, too. The evenings surrounding starting time quarter are the best for viewing the lunar terrain when it is dramatically lit by low-angled sunlight.
Saturday, March 12 – The Lunar Straight Wall (evening)
On Saturday evening, March 12, the pole-to-pole terminator that divides the lit and nighttime hemispheres of the waxing gibbous moon, will fall to the left (or lunar w) of Rupes Recta, also known as the Lunar Directly Wall. The rupes, Latin for “cliff”, is a northward-s aligned fault scarp that extends for 65 miles (110 km) across the southeastern part of Mare Nubium, which sits in the lower tertiary of the moon’southward Earth-facing hemisphere. The wall, which is visible in good binoculars and backyard telescopes, is well-nigh prominent a solar day or ii after start quarter, and also the days before last quarter. For reference, the very brilliant crater Tycho is located due south of the Straight Wall.
Sunday, March 13 – Daylight Saving Fourth dimension Begins (at ii a.grand.)
For jurisdictions that prefer Daylight Saving Time (DST), clocks should be set forward by one hour at ii a.m. local time on Sunday, March 13. For stargazers, the time change, and the fact that sunset occurs ane infinitesimal later each twenty-four hours well-nigh the March equinox, will mean that night-sky observing cannot embark until much afterward in the evening — possibly later on the bedtime of inferior astronomers. The difference from local time to Greenwich Mean Fourth dimension (GMT), and the astronomers’ Universal Time (UT), will decrease by i 60 minutes when DST is in consequence. Daylight Saving Time will cease on November half dozen, 2022.
Sun, March xiii – Mare Imbrium’s Gold Handle (all night)
On Lord’s day dark, March xiii, the terminator on the waxing gibbous moon will fall west of Sinus Iridum, the Bay of Rainbows. The circular 155 mile (249 km) diameter characteristic is a large touch crater that was flooded by the same basalts that filled the much larger Mare Imbrium to its due east — forming a rounded “handle” on the western border of that mare. The “Golden Handle” outcome is produced when sunlight strikes the prominent Montes Jura mountain range surrounding Sinus Iridum on the north and west. Sinus Iridum is almost craterless, but hosts a set of northeast-oriented wrinkle ridges that are revealed at this stage.
Monday, March 14 – Moon Nears the Beehive (before dawn)
In the hours between midnight and dawn on Monday morning, March fourteen, expect in the western sky for the waxing gibbous moon shining to the left (or angelic northeast) of the huge open star cluster in Cancer known as the Beehive, Praesepe, and Messier 44. The moon and the cluster will be close enough to share the field of binoculars (dark-green circumvolve), merely yous’ll see more of the “bees” if y’all tuck the moon just out of sight on the correct.
Tuesday, March 15 – Moon Occults Eta Leonis (after 7:55 p.m. EDT)
On Tuesday, March 15, observers in eastern North America and northwestern Africa tin can see the nearly full moon cross in front end of, or occult, the vivid, magnitude three.45 star named Eta Leonis and Algeiba, in Leo. Surrounding regions will come across the moon laissez passer very close to the star. Occultations of bright stars can be watched through backyard telescopes and binoculars. The start and cease times for the event vary by location. Employ an astronomy app like Starry Night to expect up the times for your site. In Montreal, the unlit leading edge of the moon will cover the star at 7:56 p.m. EDT (or 23:56 GMT). Eta Leonis will pop out from behind the bright, trailing edge of the moon, near Mare Crisium, at 9:04 p.1000. EDT (or 01:04 GMT on March xvi). For all-time results, starting time watching several minutes ahead of each of the times quoted.
Wednesday, March 16 – Venus Closest to Mars (predawn)
In the lower part of the southeastern sky earlier dawn on Wednesday, March xvi, extremely vivid Venus and much fainter Mars volition reach their minimum separation of iii.9 degrees — making a squeamish photograph opportunity. That’s more than close enough for them to share the field of view in binoculars (green circle). Mars will be positioned several finger widths to the lower correct (celestial south) of Venus. The ii planets will be nigh as shut on the surrounding mornings. Later Wed, Venus’ swing sunward will steadily increase its distance from Mars.
Thursday, March 17 – Comparing the Twins (evening)
While the moon is bright and the planets are absent-minded, skywatchers can still enjoy viewing bright stars. The twin stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux, smoothen high in the southwestern heaven after dusk. A closer look with your unaided eyes or binoculars (dark-green circle) will reveal that the twins are quite unlike. The left-hand (easterly) star Pollux is nearly twice as bright as sibling Castor to its right (west). Pollux’ K0 spectral grade gives it a warmer colour than does white, A1-grade Castor. In a lawn telescope Castor is revealed to be a delightful multiple star system, with several fainter companions distributed around a vivid, close-together pair.
Friday, March xviii – Total Worm Moon (at 07:18 GMT)
The March full moon will occur on Fri, March 18 at three:eighteen a.one thousand. EDT (or 07:xviii GMT), causing it to announced full in the Americas on both Thursday night and Friday dark. The March full moon, known as the Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Sap Moon or Lenten Moon, always shines in or well-nigh the stars of Leo or Virgo. The indigenous Ojibwe people of the Great Lakes region call the March full moon Ziissbaakdoke-giizis “Sugar Moon” or Onaabani-giizis, the “Hard Crust on the Snow Moon”. For them information technology signifies a time to balance their lives and to celebrate the new year. The Cree of Northward America call it Mikisiwipisim, the “the Eagle Moon” – the month when the hawkeye returns. The Cherokee call it Anvyi, the “Windy Moon”, when the planting cycle begins anew. Full moons always rise in the east as the sunday sets, and set in the west at sunrise. When fully illuminated, the moon’due south geology is enhanced, peculiarly the contrast between the ancient cratered highlands and the younger smoother maria.
Sat, March nineteen – Full Moon Occults Porrima (afterwards 04:52 GMT)
In the wee hours of Saturday, March xix, observers in northeastern North America and the Northward Atlantic can encounter the total moon cross in front of, or occult, the bright, magnitude iii.four double star named Gamma Virginis and Porrima, in Virgo. Surrounding regions will meet the moon pass very close to the star. Occultations of bright stars tin can be watched through backyard telescopes and binoculars. The start and finish times for the upshot vary past location. Use an astronomy app like Starry Night to await up the times for your site. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, the bright, leading edge of the moon will comprehend the two stars at 1:52 a.m. EDT (or 04:52 GMT on March 20). Porrima’due south pair will pop out from backside the darkened, abaft border of the moon, about Mare Fecunditatis, at 3:05 a.m. EDT (or 06:05 GMT on March 20). For all-time results, start watching several minutes ahead of each of the times quoted.
Sunday, March 20 – Venus at Greatest Western Elongation (predawn)
On Sunday, March xx, Venus will reach its maximum angle from the sun for the current appearance — 46.5 degrees westward. At that time the planet volition polish at a brilliant magnitude -4.5 in the lower office of the southeastern heaven for well-nigh xc minutes before sunrise. Viewed in a telescope (inset), the planet will exhibit a half-illuminated phase and an apparent disk diameter of 24.half-dozen arc-seconds. Mars and Saturn volition shine nearby.
Sunday, March twenty – March Equinox (at xv:33 GMT)
On Sunday, March 20 at 11:33 a.yard. EDT (or 15:33 GMT) the sun will cross the celestial equator traveling north, marking the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of northern spring. Days and nights volition be of equal length on that day, and the sun will rise due due east and set due westward. At mid-northern latitudes on the March equinox, the amount of daylight added to each day reaches its maximum of 3 minutes.
Monday, March 21 – Mercury Close to Jupiter (before sunrise)
Simply earlier sunrise on the morning of Sunday, March xx, observers in the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere can look for the bright planets Jupiter and Mercury shining together but above the eastern horizon. Jupiter will be three times brighter than Mercury. The two planets will exist binoculars-close (large green circumvolve) from Friday through Th. Mercury’s rapid e orbital motion will cause it to steadily descend from above Jupiter to below it during that calendar week. At closest approach on Monday, Jupiter volition shine merely a finger’s width to the left (angelic north) of Mercury, allowing the behemothic planet and its moons to share the field of view in a backyard telescope with Mercury. (Be certain to direct all optics away from the area before the sun rises.)
Tuesday, March 22 – Zodiacal Light (after dusk)
If yous alive in a location where the sky is free of light pollution, you tin expect for the Zodiacal Low-cal, which will appear during the ii weeks that precede the new moon on Friday, April one. After the evening twilight has disappeared, y’all’ll have nearly one-half an hour to check the western heaven for a broad wedge of faint light extending upwards from the horizon and centered on the ecliptic below the Pleiades cluster. That glow is the zodiacal light – sunlight scattered from countless small grit particles that populate the aeroplane of our solar organisation. Recent studies point to Mars as a major contributor to the dust. Don’t confuse the zodiacal calorie-free with the winter Galaxy, which extends upwards from the southwestern evening horizon at this time of year.
Wednesday, March 23 – Moon Above Antares (midnight to dawn)
Between midnight and dawn on Wed, March 23, the waning gibbous moon will shine well-nigh the brilliant, reddish star Antares, “the Rival of Mars” and the brightest star in Scorpius. Wait for the duo positioned low in the southeastern sky during the wee hours of the nighttime, and and then partway upwards the southern sky before dawn. The moon will exist positioned several finger widths above (celestial north of) the star the entire time.
Friday, March 25 – Third Quarter Moon (at 05:37 GMT)
The moon volition officially reach its third quarter phase at one:37 a.g. EST or 05:37 GMT on Friday, March 25. At third (or final) quarter the moon is half-illuminated, on its western, sunward side. It volition rise around midnight, then remain visible until it sets in the western daytime sky in late morning. Third quarter moons are positioned ahead of the Globe in our trip effectually the Dominicus. Nearly three½ hours later, Earth will occupy that same location in space. The week of dark, moonless evening skies that follow this stage are ideal for observing deep heaven targets.
Monday, March 28 – Old Moon Meets Mars, Venus, and Saturn (predawn)
A pretty sight will greet early risers on the morning of Monday, March 28, when the old, crescent moon will exist shining below the group of Mars, Venus, and Saturn in the southeastern heaven. The group will make a fantastic photo opportunity, too. The moon will be last to rise, just before 5:30 a.thousand. local time. Extremely bright Venus will dominate the scene at top left. The much fainter, xanthous dot of Saturn volition sit two finger widths beneath Venus, and similarly bright, reddish Mars will shine almost a palm’s width off to their correct. The moon will pass a palm’s width below (celestial south of) those planets. It will steadily migrate from west to east every bit each time zone on Earth gets the chance to enjoy the prove.
Tuesday, March 29 – Venus Nearest Saturn (predawn)
Although the crescent moon volition accept moved away from them later on 24 hours, the gathering of the three brilliant planets Venus, Saturn, and Mars in the southeastern predawn sky will continue on Tuesday, March 29. This forenoon, Saturn and Venus will reach their minimum separation from one another of two.2 degrees — more than shut enough to see them together in binoculars (green circle), which might reveal Venus’ half-moon shape and Saturn’s elongated dot. Venus’ swing sunward will increment its distance from Saturn and Mars on each subsequent morn.
Wednesday, March thirty – Quondam Moon and Jupiter (predawn)
On Wednesday forenoon, March xxx, the very slim crescent of the old moon hop to sit a palm’s width to the lower right (or 5.5 degrees to the celestial southwest) of Jupiter’south bright dot. At mid-northern latitudes, the duo will be just above the eastern horizon around 6:30 a.m. local time — and barely visible amidst the twilight glow. Observers in the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere, where the ecliptic will be vertical, will meet them easily. There, the moon volition be positioned to Jupiter’s upper correct.
As March begins, Mercury will continue with its best morning apparition of the year for observers in the Southern Hemisphere, where information technology will shine in a dark sky amongst the stars of eastern Capricornus and Aquarius. The planet will exist easily visible there during the first half of March while it descends sunward, and then go increasingly embedded within the dawn twilight. Mercury will laissez passer only 0.7 degrees s of somewhat fainter Saturn on March 2 and and so 1.ii degrees south of Jupiter on March 21. That second conjunction volition exist difficult to see because the 2 planets volition be only 12 degrees west of the sun. Meanwhile, observers at mid-Northern latitudes will non be able to meet Mercury at all after the outset few mornings of March. Regardless of viewing location, the swift planet volition brighten continuously from magnitude -0.1 to -1.viii during the month. Viewed in a telescope, the planet’south phase will wax from 76%-illuminated to full and its apparent disk diameter volition shrink.
Venus volition go on to dominate the southeastern predawn sky during March. It will be accompanied past 250 times fainter Mars, which volition be traveling on a parallel class, merely showtime five degrees to the s of Venus. The two planets volition pass from Sagittarius into Capricornus on March 7 and then motion to inside iii.9 degrees of ane some other on March sixteen. Four mornings later Venus will reach its greatest elongation, 46.5 degrees west of the sun. Once Venus starts sunward again, it volition slowly increment its angle from Mars and shift towards Saturn — simply during the last week of the month, those three planets volition be grouped close enough to share the field of view in binoculars. On March 28, the onetime crescent moon will pass to the due south of the three planets, making a lovely photo opportunity. The post-obit morning, Venus will pass only 2.ii degrees north of Saturn. Venus will diminish slightly in credible brightness during March, later starting the month at magnitude -4.7. Viewed in a telescope, Venus will showroom an illuminated phase that increases from 38% to 55%, while its apparent disk bore shrinks from 31.iv to 21.9 arc-seconds. Observers in the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere, where the ecliptic volition be nigh-vertical, volition have better views of Venus all calendar month long.
Throughout March, Mars volition be appreciable in the southeastern predawn sky, shining a brusk altitude to the lower right (or celestial southwest) of much brighter Venus. The red planet will close to within 4 degrees of Venus on March 16, and and then their separation will increase as Venus swings sunward. On March 5, Mars volition laissez passer only 0.7 degrees to the n of the magnitude ix.ii globular star cluster Messier 75 in eastern Sagittarius. Mars volition and so spend the balance of the calendar month traveling eastward through northern Capricornus, passing but to the s of the magnitude 4 star Theta Capricorni on March 25. Mars’ celestial path will exist conveying it straight towards Saturn. That planet’s slower eastward motility will allow Mars to subtract their separation to iii degrees on March 31. (They’ll have a very close conjunction on Apr v.) During the final week of the month, Venus, Mars, and Saturn volition exist grouped enough to share the field of view in binoculars. On March 28, the former crescent moon will pass to the south of them, making a lovely photo opportunity. Later starting the month at magnitude 1.25, Mars will slightly burnish during March. In a telescope, information technology will showroom an apparent deejay bore that grows from four.7 to 5.2 arc-seconds.
Jupiter will pass solar conjunction on March five. The tilted morning ecliptic will prevent the -2.0 planet from condign appreciable at mid-northern latitudes until the closing days of March — only observers in the tropics and in the Southern Hemisphere should be able spot Jupiter sitting low above the eastern horizon before sunrise from mid-month onward. Observers there should plan to see Jupiter’s telescope-shut conjunction with Mercury on March 21 so a visit from the old crescent moon on March 30.
Saturn will increment its elongation westward of the sun from 22 degrees to 49 degrees during March, allowing the ringed planet to break free of the predawn twilight before month’south finish. The severely tilted morning ecliptic will hold Saturn close to the eastward-southeastern horizon for mid-northern Hemisphere observers, merely those in the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere will savour views of the planet shining higher, and in a night heaven among the stars of northern Capricornus, all calendar month long. The planet Mercury will laissez passer telescope-close to Saturn on March ii. After that, Saturn will exist carried steadily towards Venus and Mars. The iii planets volition gather binoculars-shut during the final week of the calendar month. The presence of the old crescent moon south of them on March 28 will produce an especially fine photo opportunity. Saturn will brainstorm the month at magnitude 0.78 and then fade slightly during March. In a telescope, the planet’s apparent diameter will span xv.5 arc-seconds.
Magnitude v.8 Uranus will be observable in binoculars and telescopes in the western heaven during early evening in March, but its descent sunward will make views of it increasingly challenging towards month-end. Uranus’ pocket-sized, bluish-green dot will be moving slowly eastwards through southern Aries, approximately 11 degrees southeast of that constellation’s brightest stars, Hamal and Sheratan, and only five degrees from the medium-bright star Mu Ceti to its south. The planet will be best viewed correct afterward dusk, when it will exist higher in the southwestern sky. On March half-dozen, the waxing crescent moon volition be located a short distance below (or celestial w) of the magnitude 6.eight planet Uranus. Observers in parts of eastern Antarctica, southeastern Australia, southeastern Melanesia, and southwestern Polynesia tin can watch the moon occult Uranus on that engagement in the period around 07:30 GMT — the second of 15 consecutive monthly lunar occultations of the seventh planet.
Distant, bluish Neptune will pass solar conjunction on March xiii, and so enter the eastern predawn heaven. Unfortunately, its position south of the tilted ecliptic volition prevent faint 8th magnitude Neptune from being observable in mid-northern breadth locations before belatedly April.
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