March 2021 Guide to the Bright Planets
Here’s the March 2021 guide to the night sky. Red Mars reigns the evenings, Daylight Saving Time begins, the vernal equinox will spring forth, and the Full Worm Moon rises. See Bob Berman’s highlights and viewing tips for the month of March.
Sky Watch March 2021
by Bob Berman, as featured in The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Visible Planets for March
Red Mars shines bright at night and is this month’s only visible planet in the evening sky.
This month’s action happens mainly in the morning, when Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury line up low in the east on the 1st. Venus is not visible, as it’s behind the Sun most of the month. By month’s end, Jupiter and Saturn are an even easier-to-view 10 to 15 degrees high in that same predawn eastern locale.
- On the evening of March 3, look to Mars near the Seven Sisters or Pleiades as there will be a rare conjunction. Your best view will be in the early evening. Look west for red Mars; just above (north) will be the small blue-white dipper of stars. They will be only a few finger widths apart for several nights, close enough to easily fit within the field of view of binoculars.
- On March 5, Mercury and Jupiter essentially merge into a single bright “star”—a “don’t miss” event, except that at just 6 degrees high, it requires a flat eastern horizon for viewing. From northerly latitudes, this Mercury-Jupiter conjunction may be difficult to see in the morning twilight
- On March 10, a much easier-to-see conjunction unfolds, when the three morning planets—Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn—form a small triangle that’s 8 degrees up 40 minutes before sunrise.
- On the evening of March 19, the waxing crescent Moon closely meets Mars just above the orange Taurus star Aldebaran. The equinox brings spring to the Northern Hemisphere on the 20th at 4:37 a.m.
See the Almanac’s Bright Planets Calculator to find out when planets rises and sets from your backyard. Just type in your zip code!
March 14: Daylight Saving Time
This year, Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 2:00 A.M. On Saturday night, set your clocks forward one hour (i.e., losing one hour) to “spring ahead.”. See more about Daylight Saving Time.
March 20: Spring Equinox
The vernal equinox marks the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the start of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. The equinox falls on Saturday, March 20, at 5:37 A.M. EDT.
March 28: The Full Worm Moon
During March evenings, we’ll have Moon-free windows during the latter half of March.
- See your local Moon Phase Calendar and just punch in your zip code!
- You can also check the Almanac’s Moonrise and Moonset calculator.
The full Worm Moon rises on Sunday, March 28, 2021. Here’s all you need to know about the full Worm Moon.
This year, because it is the first full Moon to occur after the spring equinox on March 20, March’s full Moon is the Paschal Full Moon. This means that its date determines the date of Easter (April 4, 2021)! Read more about how Easter’s date is determined.
Sirius, the Dog Star
March is a great month to marvel at Sirius — the brightest star in our sky. Sirius is nicknamed “the Dog Star,” because it’s the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major. Sirius is super easy to locate: Just face toward the south and look for Orion. The three bright stars that make up Orion’s belt point downward, toward Sirius. See my post on Sirius, The Brightest Star in the Sky Tonight.
The Big Dipper
On March evenings, it’s easy to find the Big Dipper. This is not a constellation but an “asterism” which is composed of the seven brightest stars in the constellation Ursa Major, the Greater Bear. The shape of the Big Dipper never varies, but its orientation changes constantly. See our free stargazing map to navigate the Big Dipper.