Planets on Parade

Don’t forget to stargaze tomorrow night: March 12 and 13, Jupiter and Venus are as close together as they’ll come.  They’ve been unmistakeable bright lights in the west all month and exciting to watch as they make their rounds.

It’s not only the meeting of Jupiter and Venus that makes this month’s night sky interesting.  Mercury is also at its most visible just now, also in the west at dusk, and almost in a line with Jupiter and Venus.  You’ll have to have a good view of the horizon to see Mercury, however, and look carefully: even though it is at its best for viewing, it is still very small and dim.

Across the dome of the night sky from the other planets is Mars, big, bright and red all month.

Amazingly, a fifth planet is visible this month!  Saturn, the faintest and farthest planet we can see with the naked eye from here on Earth, is up there in the eastern sky.  It should be possible to see the famous rings with a backyard telescope.

March is a marvellous time to gaze skyward, especially since the weather is cooperating!

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