March 17: Venus and Mercury
The Sun’s two closest planets are staging a switcheroo. Mercury is climbing higher into the evening sky, while Venus is dropping out of the sky. Venus is the brilliant “evening star,” with much fainter Mercury close to its lower left tonight.
March 18: Moon, Antares, Saturn
The planet Saturn is in good view early tomorrow. It looks like a bright star to the lower left of the Moon at first light. The bright star Antares stands about the same distance to the lower right of the Moon.
March 19: Vernal Equinox
Those of us in the United States will wake up to a new season tomorrow. Spring begins at 5:29 a.m. CDT, which is the moment of the vernal equinox. It occurs when the Sun crosses Earth’s equator from south to north.
March 20: Crater
The constellation Crater, the cup, is visible this month in the southeastern evening sky. Its stars are faint, so you need dark skies to find it. To ancient European cultures, Crater represented the birthplace of storms.
March 21: Milky Way Clouds
The stars of the Milky Way intertwine with clouds of gas and dust that can span many light-years. Some of them are bright and colorful; others, dark and quiet. The dark clouds are giving birth to new stars. They are dark because their gas is cold.
March 22: Winter Circle
Spring has already sprung, but a great pattern of stars named for winter still dominates the western evening sky. The Winter Circle includes some of the most prominent stars of all, including Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky.