March 2, 2023: Venus opens a gap on Jupiter in the west-southwest after their conjunction last night. The moon is near Pollux after sundown. Mars marches eastward against Taurus.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:26 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:41 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location. Times are calculated from the U.S. Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.
Here is today’s planet forecast:
Two bright planets are immersed in bright morning twilight. Saturn slowly climbs into the morning sky after its conjunction last month. It is first visible low in the eastern sky about the time of the equinox. It rises about 20 minutes before sunup. Mercury is heading for its superior conjunction in nearly two weeks. It rises about five minutes after Saturn.
One evening after their conjunction, brilliant Venus is near Jupiter in the west-southwest after sundown. You can find them shortly after sunset until about 90 minutes after the sun leaves the sky.
This evening Venus is 0.9° above the Jovian Giant. The gap opens about 1° each evening. Venus is within 10° of Jupiter through the 11th.
Venus climbs higher in the sky each evening, reaching its maximum setting time interval compared to the sun during early May.
In contrast, Jupiter sets earlier each evening, disappearing into bright evening twilight at the end of the month.
Farther eastward, the bright gibbous moon, 83% illuminated, is high in the east-southeast, and 2.0° to the lower right of Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins. Because of the moon’s proximity to the star, block the moon with your hand as you would to shield your eyes from the sun.
Mars is high in the south-southwest, marching eastward in Taurus. It is 4.2° to the lower left of Elnath, the Bull’s northern horn. Mars passes the star in a week, then moves between the horns on the 11th, and past the southern horn, Zeta Tauri, on the 14th.
- 2023, October 23: Venus at Greatest ElongationOctober 23, 2023: Venus moves to its farthest angular distance from the sun today, known as greatest elongation. During morning twilight, the Morning Star passes Leo’s Chertan.
- 2023, October 22: Moon Approaches SaturnOctober 22, 2023: During evening hours, the gibbous moon nears Saturn in the southern sky. Venus and Jupiter are visible during morning twilight.
- 2023, October 21: Three Bright Planets, First Quarter MoonOctober 21, 2023: Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are easy to locate during nighttime hours. The First Quarter moon phase occurs this evening.
- 2023, October 20: Jupiter’s Double Shadows, Mercury at Superior ConjunctionOctober 20: After midnight, Jupiter’s moons’ shadows dance across the cloud tops. Mercury is at superior conjunction.
- 2023, October 19: Poured Moon, See Planet UranusOctober 19: Sagittarius seems to pour the moon into the sky this evening. Find Uranus with a binocular.