March 12, 2023: Daylight Saving Time begins today. The moon is near Zubenelgenubi before sunrise. Mars marches eastward away from the Bull’s horns.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:08 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 6:54 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location. Times are calculated from the U.S. Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.
Daylight Saving Time begins today across North America, except in US states that keep their clocks on standard time. Those earlier daybreaks occur an hour later than yesterday.
Here is today’s planet forecast:
An hour before daybreak, the gibbous moon, 75% illuminated, is about 25° up in the south-southwest, 4.2° to the lower left of Zubenelgenubi, meaning “the scorpion’s southern claw.”
Scorpius parades across this southern horizon at this hour. Its brightest star, Antares, is over 20° above the southern horizon. The star’s name means “the rival of Mars.” The planet moves through this region of the ecliptic every two years. The pair is about the same color and brightness when that occurs.
The constellation is in the same location in the evening during July. Each morning the pattern is farther westward and begins to appear in the evening sky after the mid-point of the spring season.
In two mornings, the moon is to the left (east) of Antares.
Venus and Jupiter shine brightly from the western sky after sundown. The Evening Star is over 20° above the horizon and 10.7° to the upper left of bright Jupiter. The gap widens about 1° each evening. Venus sets later each evening, while Jupiter gently slips into brighter evening twilight. The Jovian Giant disappears into the sun’s glare near month’s end. This evening Venus sets nearly an hour after Jupiter.
Through a telescope, Venus is featureless. It is covered with thick clouds that obscure any surface features. This evening the planet shows an evening gibbous phase that is 83% illuminated.
Mars is high in the south-southwest, to the east of an imaginary line that connects the Bull’s horns, Elnath and Zeta Tauri. It marched between them last night. The Red Planet passes Zeta Tauri in two evenings.
From Chicago, the moon rises 30 minutes before midnight. Later for those farther westward in the time zone.
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- 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.