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Planets visible to the naked eye

  • Photo: Marc Jobin
    Planets visible to the naked eye

    Here's a look at the planets that will be observable with the naked eye in the coming days. Follow these guidelines to find out where and when to look for them.

    From March 20 to April 3, 2023

    Mercury passed behind the Sun (superior conjunction) on March 17. The tiny planet then reappears in the evening sky where it will make a fine appearance between March 25 and April 22. Look for it low in the west, between 30 and 45 minutes after sunset. On March 27 at dusk, Mercury and Jupiter are in conjunction, less than 1½ degrees apart; the Giant Planet is on the left and slightly brighter than Mercury.

    Venus is the dazzling Evening Star that shines in the west 30 minutes after sunset and remains easily visible until after 10 p.m. On March 23 at dusk, the thin lunar crescent hangs 6½ degrees below Venus; the following evening, March 24, the Moon appears 6 degrees above the Evening Star.

    Mars is receding from Earth but remains a conspicuously bright, orangish object. The Red Planet appears at dusk, shining more than 60 degrees high in the southwest, and vanishes below the west-northwest horizon around 2:30 a.m. On the evenings  of March 27 and 28, the waxing Moon will shine a few degrees from the Red Planet.

    Jupiter appears lower and lower during twilight. The Giant Planet sinks deeper in the glare of sunset with each passing day: we’ll lose sight of it before the end of March. At dusk on March 22, about 30 minutes after sunset, the thin waxing crescent Moon hangs just one degree to the upper left of the Giant Planet: you’ll find the pair very close to the western horizon.  On March 27 at dusk, Jupiter is in conjunction with Mercury, with the two planets less than 1½ degrees apart; the Giant Planet is on the left and slightly brighter than Mercury.

    Saturn passed behind the Sun (conjunction) on February 16. is too close to the Sun and is not visible. The Ringed Planet gradually reappears in the morning sky in late March: look for it very low in the east-southeast at dawn, about 45 minutes before sunrise.

    See also

    Monthly Sky

    The Pocket Planetarium

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