2023, March 12: Daylight Time, Moon nears Scorpion, Mars Marches Eastward


March 12, 2023: Daylight Saving Time begins today.  The moon is near Zubenelgenubi before sunrise.  Mars marches eastward away from the Bull’s horns.

Photo Caption – 2020, January 21: Mars is near Antares with the crescent moon nearby.


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:

Morning Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, March 12: The moon is near Zubenelgenubi – the southern claw of the scorpion – before sunrise.

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.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, March 12: Venus and Jupiter shine brightly from the western sky after sundown.

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.

Chart Caption – 2023, March 12: Mars is high in the southwest east of an imaginary line from Elnath to Zeta Tauri.

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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