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Night sky in March – southern hemisphere


Highlights: Jupiter bright but low.

Here is a view of the night sky this month as seen from mid-southern latitudes such as Sydney (-33° 52′) in mid March, 2015, at 10pm local time.

The planets in March 2015

Mercury is too close to the Sun to be observed this month.

Venus shines brilliantly at mag -4 in the evening sky and can be spotted as it gets dark. Through a telescope it looks like a small gibbous moon. Mars still lies nearby, and on 4 March, Uranus will be only 6 arc minutes, or a fifth the diameter of the Moon, away, though being 10,000 times fainter, it will be hard to spot so low and in the brighter planet’s glare.

Mars is still hanging on in the evening sky, at magnitude +1.3, due to the way it races eastwards, as if trying to stop the Sun catching up with it. It lies not far from Venus and will be just 18 arc minutes from Uranus on 11 March. Find out more about Mars here including maps to show its position in the sky.

Jupiter is low down for southern hemisphere observers, in the constellation of Cancer, and shining at magnitude -2.4. A small telescope will show the bands in its cloud tops and the four brightest moons.

Saturn is visible in the hours between midnight and dawn, high in the constellation of Scorpius. With a magnitude of +0.3, it is bright and easy to find. Even a small telescope will show its beautiful rings.

Note: The sky will appear much the same from other cities at similar latitudes, such as Perth or Wellington, at around 10pm local time. Imagine holding it over your head so that the centre of the chart is the zenith and the edge runs all the way around your horizon. The sky appears the same at the start of the month an hour later and at the end of the month an hour earlier.

We use Virtual Sky, a customizable, browser-based planetarium, courtesy of Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. Tip: The chart is interactive. Click on the date or location to the top left of the chart to view the sky at a different time or from another location. If you want to check out the sky as seen from the northern hemisphere, click here.