2023, March 28: Morning Saturn, Evening, Mars, Moon


March 28, 2023: Saturn continues to make its first morning appearance for northern hemisphere sky watches.  The First Quarter Moon is near Mars after sundown.

Photo Caption – 2020, June 22: Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars arch across the southern sky before sunrise. The Jupiter Saturn gap is 5.6°. Mars is 62° from Jupiter.


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 6:41 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:12 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.  Times are calculated by the U.S. Naval Observatory’s MICA computer program.

Here is today’s planet forecast:

Morning Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, March 27: Saturn is low in the east-southeast before sunrise.

Saturn slowly climbs into the morning sky in the east-southeast.  At Chicago’s latitude, the planet is over 4° above the horizon at 45 minutes before sunup.  For more southerly latitudes, the planet is higher in the sky and visible without an optical assist.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, March 28: Jupiter and Mercury are visible through a binocular after sundown.

After its conjunction with Jupiter yesterday, Mercury speeds away from the Jovian Giant.  This evening the solar system’s innermost planet is 1.9° to the upper right of Jupiter.  At thirty minutes after sundown, Jupiter is only 3° above the western horizon.  A binocular is needed to see the pair.

Mercury continues to emerge from bright evening twilight while Jupiter is moving toward solar conjunction next month and reappearance in the eastern morning sky during May.

Chart Caption – 2023, March 28: Evening Star Venus is in the west after sundown.

Fifteen minutes later, brilliant Venus is over 25° up in the west.  It continues to step eastward in front of Aries, 11.2° to the upper left of Hamal, the constellation’s brightest star.

Chart Caption – 2023, March 27-April 1: Venus moves through the same binocular field with Uranus.

At this hour, the sky is too bright to easily spot Uranus, 2.4° to the upper left of the Evening Star.  The more-distant planet is near the limit of human eyesight when viewed from a dark location.  Return with a binocular at ninety minutes after sundown, near the end of evening twilight, to see two planets in the same field of view. Uranus is dim, aquamarine in color, and near the center of the field of view when Venus is off-set to the lower right of the field.

Chart Caption – 2023, March 28: Mars and the moon are in front of Gemini during the early evening.

The half-full evening moon (First Quarter) rises about eight hours before sundown and can be found easily during the daytime.  By an hour after sundown, the lunar orb is high in the southwest, 5.5° to the upper left of Mars.

The Red Planet is marching eastward in front of the Gemini Twins.  Castor and Pollux are to the upper left of the moon and Mars this evening.

Chart Caption – 2023, March 26-April 5: Mars moves through the same binocular field with Propus and Messier 35 (M 35).

The brightening moon whitewashes the dimmer stars and celestial wonders from view.  Through a binocular, Mars, the star Propus, and a star cluster catalogued as Messier 35 (M 35 on the chart) are visible, but the cluster is muted by moonlight.



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