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In the Sky This Month

Leo takes its rightful place as the lord of the skies on March nights. The lion is in good view in the east as darkness falls, and springs high across the sky during the night. The bright planet Jupiter trails far behind it, near Spica, the brightest star of Virgo. And the even brighter planet Venus changes addresses during the month. It is the brilliant Evening Star as the month begins, but switches to the morning sky by month's end.

March 27: Growth Spurt

M87, a giant elliptical galaxy that looks like a fuzzy rugby ball, with no spiral arms or other major features, perches high in the east at nightfall. The galaxy is visible through small telescopes.

March 28: Head of Hercules

The star that represents the head of Hercules rises below his body. It is called Rasalgethi, and it actually consists of three individual stars. Look for it clearing the northeastern horizon in late evening.

March 29: Moon, Mars, and Mercury

The Moon is a beautiful crescent this evening. To the lower right of the Moon, look for the planet Mercury, which looks like a bright star. And look farther above the Moon for Mars, which looks like a modest orange star.

March 30: Moon and Mars

The planet Mars huddles quite close to the crescent Moon this evening. It looks like a moderately bright orange star, and stands to the lower right of the Moon as they drop down the western sky.

March 31: Moon and Aldebaran

The Moon stands just below the V-shaped pattern of stars that outlines the head of Taurus the bull this evening. The brightest member of that pattern is Aldebaran, the bull’s eye. The other members of the V belong to the Hyades star cluster.

Current moon phase

First QuarterFirst Mar. 5, 5:32 am

Full MoonFull Mar. 12, 9:54 am

Last quarterLast Mar. 20, 10:58 am

New MoonNew Mar. 27, 9:57 pm

Times are U.S. Central Time.

Perigee March 3, 30

Apogee March 18

The full Moon of March is known as the Sap Moon, Worm Moon, or Lenten Moon.