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Jupiter and moons

M A R C H   S K Y W A T C H

Five Planets in the Evening Sky

by Maya del Mar

We have a special treat this month. All five of the visible planets are visible in the evening sky. Starting at the western horizon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Saturn make a regular line along the ecliptic to the sky above us. Separated from them is Jupiter, just rising in the East.

Mercury is not really visible until midmonth. Look low on the western horizon one hour after sunset beginning March 15. There are no bright stars around it to be mistaken for it. You may need binoculars to find it now, but by March 20 yellow Mercury will be obvious to the naked eye. Mercury will turn retrograde on April 6, and as Mercury is nearing its retrograde turn, it is further and further from the Sun. This takes it away from being devoured by the bright aura of the sun, as it so often is.

Look for Mercury near the delicate new crescent moon on March 22.

Another way to spot Mercury is to look close to the horizon somewhat below brilliant Venus, now shining brightly in the evening sky. Venus is covered with a thick atmosphere, and reflects more sunlight than any other planet.

Look for that slim crescent moon close to Venus on March 24. You can see how it has traveled from Mercury to Venus in two days. Venus, too, is proceeding towards a retrograde turn on May 17, and it is moving closer to Earth. During March it moves from 86 million miles of distance to 65 million miles, a change of over 20% in one month. Venus is very very bright now.

Venus is moving towards Mars, a bit above and to its left. They are both heading for the Pleiades in Taurus. Mars passes the Pleiades on March 19. Mars is orange, and nearly matches the bright star Aldeberan, which is just above and to its left.

The growing moon passes close to Mars on March 25.

We continue to move up, and golden Saturn is next in line, high above Orion, where it has been retrograde and barely moving for months. On March 7, Saturn moves ahead, and during the next weeks we can watch it pick up speed as it moves more easterly.

On March 1, Saturn is near the gibbous moon, and it will be there again on March 28-29.

To see Jupiter, we turn our attention to the eastern sky. Bright Jupiter rises there after sunset. It is in the constellation Leo, with its bright golden star, Regulus. By early morning it has crossed the sky, and we can see it beaming low in the west.

The Full Moon on March 6 will rise next to Jupiter.

A fun activity this month will be to catch the very early crescent New Moon on the evening of March 22, and watch moon grow as it marches along the ecliptic greeting each of the planets in turn.
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March 2004
Table of Contents
March Daykeeper Home
Saturn and the United States
Alex Miller-Mignone on
Michael Moore
Crystal's Aries New Moon Prayer... A Joyful, Metaphysical Lent!
Daily Success Guide
March 1 through 31
Monthly Astrological Influences, March 2004
General Sun Signs,
March 2004
Libra/Scorpio Moon Cycle Report
Retrograde Watch—
Solidify Structures; Question Power
March Skywatch
Goddess of the Month:
Ix Chel
Books Reviewed:
Blessings, Affirmation, and Healing
Sign of the Month: Pisces—Maya's Sun Sign Archives

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