This evening, under a nearly full moon, brilliant Venus shines from the western sky. It is 2.2° to the upper right of Uranus. All week Venus has been moving toward the more distant planet. This evening they appear closest.
If you look closely at the image, Uranus is present. Use a binocular to locate the dimmer planet in the sky. Tomorrow evening Venus is farther to the upper right of Uranus.
Venus is also moving toward the brightest three stars in Aries. As Venus heads eastward through the stars, it does not pass closely to them. The brightest star in Aries, Hamal, is labelled in the above image.
Here’s more information about Venus this week and its place compared to Uranus and Aries.
This evening brilliant Venus is 2.7° to the lower right of Uranus. Venus continues to move farther into Aries near the three bright stars of the constellation. Hamal, the brightest, is to the upper right of Venus.
Use a binocular to see the dim bluish planet that resembles a star, even with slight optical magnification.
Under the brightness of a First Quarter phase moon, Venus gleams brilliantly in the west. This week this bright planet approaches and passes the planet Uranus. This evening Venus is 6.3° to the lower right of Uranus. Use a binocular to locate Uranus in the star field.
Venus passes to the right of Uranus. The separation is about 2.3°, about one-third of tonight’s separation.
On March 3, look for the brilliant planet about 4 degrees to the left of the galaxy. Holding a binocular steady, put Venus on the lower left side of the view. A cloudy oval with a starlike center, appears to the upper right of the view.
On March 7, brilliant Venus appears to the right of Uranus. Uranus’ brightness is at the limit of human eyesight. Through a binocular, it appears as a bluish star. Put Venus to the right side of the binocular’s view. Uranus will appear to the left of Venus left of center of the view.
For more details about seeing the galaxy and the planet Uranus, see the daily notes that follow that match the dates on the chart above.
March 3: One hour after sunset brilliant Venus is over 30° in altitude in the west-southwest. It passes 4° to the lower left of M74 (NGC 628, m = 8.8, 8’ apparent size). Mallas in The Messier Album, describes the view, “This is a difficult galaxy for a 4” refractor, but it is easily seen in the 10 x 40 finder. A casual observer might miss this object completely, for the central condensation is starlike and the outer parts have very low surface brightness” (p. 146). Also look for Uranus, 5.3° to the upper left of Venus.
March 4: One hour after sunset, Venus is over 30° up in the west-southwest. It moves into Aries, 4.3° to the lower right of Uranus.
March 5: One hour after sunset, brilliant Venus is over 30° up in the west-southwest, 3.5° to the lower right of Uranus. Through a telescope, Venus is 61% illuminated – an evening gibbous – and 20” across.
March 6: One hour after sunset, the bright moon (12.4d, 90%), nearly 50° up in the east-southeast is in the middle of Cancer’s dim stars nearly midway from Pollux and Regulus (α Leo, m =1.3). At the same time, Venus is over 30° up in the west, 2.7° to the lower right of Uranus.
March 7: One hour after sunset, brilliant Venus is over one-third of the way up in the west. It is 2.3° to the right of Uranus.
March 8: Daylight Saving Time begins today. One hour after sunset, Venus (m = −4.4) over 30° up in the west, is 2.2° to the upper right of Uranus and 5.4° to the lower left of Gamma Arietis (γ Ari, m = 3.9).
March 9: One hour after sunset, Venus is 32° in altitude, 2.6° to the upper right of Uranus. Brilliant Venus passes 6.7° to the lower left of Beta Arietis (β Ari, m = 2.6).
March 10: In the evening, one hour after sunset, brilliant Venus is over 32° up in the west and 3.3° to the upper right of Uranus. Through a telescope, Venus is 58% illuminated and 20” across. Three hours after sunset (about 10 p.m. CDT), the moon (16.5d, 97%) is nearly 16° up in the east-southeast. It is 2.2° to the lower left of Gamma Virginis (γ Vir, m = 3.4).
March 11: In the evening – one hour after sunset – brilliant Venus is over 32° up in the west, 4.1° to the upper right of Uranus and near the three bright stars of Aries.