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Venus and Mercury visible in March

Venus and Mercury visible in March

Venus is slowly climbing in the evening sky through March and by the end of the month will be setting nearly two hours after the sun. At dusk between March 2 – 5 Venus and Mercury will be passing close to one another, and on March 3 will be only 1° apart low in the western twilight. Mercury reaches its greatest elongation from the sun on the 15th when it will be 4° from Venus in the sunset sky. On March 18, a thin sliver of moon will line up 3.5° from Venus in the dusk, with Mercury 4° from Venus. After this, Mercury will quickly sink below the horizon and by the end of the month will be lost in the sun’s glare.

Jupiter is rising in the east after midnight in March. On March 7, the waning gibbous moon will be 3° above Jupiter at dawn. On March 10, the waning crescent moon will be between Mars and Saturn in the dawn sky. Saturn is tilted nearly 26° earthward, offering an excellent view. Mars’ orbit is closing in on earth, leading to a close approach in late July.

After March 5, zodiacal light, sunlight scattered or reflected by interplanetary dust, will be visible in the western evening twilight for the next two weeks.

On March 11, daylight saving time begins: Set your clocks ahead one hour. The spring equinox occurs at 9:15am PST.

On March 9 at 7:30pm, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, the Sunshine Coast Centre presents RASC Vancouver Centre President Leigh Cummings, whose topic will be Mars exploration. Admission is free; donations gratefully accepted at the door.

The Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC is now offering the “explore the universe observing program” to the public for free. This is open to both the public and members, and can be accomplished using nothing more complicated than binoculars. On completion, you earn a certificate and observers pin. Contact the Centre at or check out the national RASC site here for details:

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