Venus is the bright planet shining in the west. Early in the month, Venus passes two celestial objects that are dim to the human eye. Use a binocular to see it pass a galaxy and the planet Uranus.
Link to Venus during March 2020 article.
On March 3, look for the brilliant planet about 4 degrees to the left of the galaxy. Holding a binocular steady, put Venus on the lower left side of the view. A cloudy oval with a starlike center, appears to the upper right of the view.
On March 7, brilliant Venus appears to the right of Uranus. Uranus’ brightness is at the limit of human eyesight. Through a binocular, it appears as a bluish star. Put Venus to the right side of the binocular’s view. Uranus will appear to the left of Venus left of center of the view.
For more details about seeing the galaxy and the planet Uranus, see the daily notes that follow that match the dates on the chart above.
- March 3: One hour after sunset brilliant Venus is over 30° in altitude in the west-southwest. It passes 4° to the lower left of M74 (NGC 628, m = 8.8, 8’ apparent size). Mallas in The Messier Album, describes the view, “This is a difficult galaxy for a 4” refractor, but it is easily seen in the 10 x 40 finder. A casual observer might miss this object completely, for the central condensation is starlike and the outer parts have very low surface brightness” (p. 146). Also look for Uranus, 5.3° to the upper left of Venus.
- March 4: One hour after sunset, Venus is over 30° up in the west-southwest. It moves into Aries, 4.3° to the lower right of Uranus.
- March 5: One hour after sunset, brilliant Venus is over 30° up in the west-southwest, 3.5° to the lower right of Uranus. Through a telescope, Venus is 61% illuminated – an evening gibbous – and 20” across.
- March 6: One hour after sunset, the bright moon (12.4d, 90%), nearly 50° up in the east-southeast is in the middle of Cancer’s dim stars nearly midway from Pollux and Regulus (α Leo, m =1.3). At the same time, Venus is over 30° up in the west, 2.7° to the lower right of Uranus.
- March 7: One hour after sunset, brilliant Venus is over one-third of the way up in the west. It is 2.3° to the right of Uranus.
- March 8: Daylight Saving Time begins today. One hour after sunset, Venus (m = −4.4) over 30° up in the west, is 2.2° to the upper right of Uranus and 5.4° to the lower left of Gamma Arietis (γ Ari, m = 3.9).
- March 9: One hour after sunset, Venus is 32° in altitude, 2.6° to the upper right of Uranus. Brilliant Venus passes 6.7° to the lower left of Beta Arietis (β Ari, m = 2.6).
- March 10: In the evening, one hour after sunset, brilliant Venus is over 32° up in the west and 3.3° to the upper right of Uranus. Through a telescope, Venus is 58% illuminated and 20” across. Three hours after sunset (about 10 p.m. CDT), the moon (16.5d, 97%) is nearly 16° up in the east-southeast. It is 2.2° to the lower left of Gamma Virginis (γ Vir, m = 3.4).
- March 11: In the evening – one hour after sunset – brilliant Venus is over 32° up in the west, 4.1° to the upper right of Uranus and near the three bright stars of Aries.