2021, March 10: Marching Mars

2021, March 10: After sunset, Mars is high in the west-southwest in front of the background stars of Taurus.
2021, March 10: After sunset, Mars is high in the west-southwest in front of the background stars of Taurus.

March 10, 2021: Mars continues its eastward march through Taurus.  Look high in the west-southwest for the planet.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:10 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:52 p.m. CST.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Mars is the lone bright planet in the evening sky.  Find it about two-thirds of the way up in the west-southwest.  It is not as bright as it was several weeks ago, although it continues its eastward march through Taurus.

Less than a week ago it passed the Pleiades star cluster.  This evening it is nicely placed to the right of the star Aldebaran (“the follower”) – the brightest star in the constellation Taurus – and the Hyades star cluster to the left of Mars, and the Pleiades cluster to the lower right of the planet.

Use a binocular to explore this region.  You can examine the Pleiades cluster and the Hyades star cluster.  Star colors abound – yellows, oranges, and blues – to indicate the stellar temperatures.

This evening Mars is 0.3° to the upper left of 37 Tauri (37 Tau on the chart), a dim star that marks the track of the sun, moon, and planets through the starfield. Use a binocular to see mars with the dimmer stars.

The planet with the neighborhood stars sets over 6 hours after sunset.

Here’s more about Mars during 2021.

Read about Mars during March.

Detailed Note: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Saturn is 8.0° up in the east-southeast, Jupiter is 9.2° of ecliptic longitude east of Saturn.  The Giant planet is nearly 4° in altitude. Fifteen minutes later, Jupiter is over 6° in altitude.  Use a binocular to spot Mercury, 4.4° to the lower left of Jupiter. Mercury is only 4° in altitude.  The thin crescent moon (26.7d, 9%) is nearly 4° in altitude, 5.4° to the lower right of Jupiter.  One hour after sunset. Mars is 57.0° up in the west-southwest among the clustered starfields of Taurus.  The planet is nicely placed to the right of Aldebaran and the Hyades, and to the upper left of the Pleiades.  The planet is 0.3° above 37 Tau.

Read more about the planets during March 2021.

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