NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is back again with its monthly rundown of sky-watching tips.
Mars and stars
As JPL is overseeing the current Perseverance rover mission, it’s no surprise that its suggestions on what to look out for in March include the red planet.
For the next few weeks, you’ll be able to spot Mars near the Pleiades star cluster high in the west for a few hours after sunset.
When you spot the salmon-pink dot in the sky, marvel for a moment at the last month’s incredible achievement when NASA landed Perseverance — its most advanced rover to date — on the surface of the faraway planet. And, with Mars firmly in your sights, also consider that two other nations — China and the United Arab Emirates — made it to Mars orbit in recent weeks, with China aiming to land its own rover in the next few months.
NASA says that if you look closely, you’ll be able to see a couple of other reddish objects forming a line with Mars. One of them is the Aldebaran star, which forms the angry eye of Taurus the bull, and Betelgeuse, the shoulder of Orion.
Jupiter and Saturn
Soon after December’s great conjunction when Jupiter and Saturn appeared super-close in the night sky, the two planets gradually slipped from view as they passed behind the sun (as seen from Earth). Well, this month, they’re back … though you’ll have to rise early to catch them.
Jupiter and Saturn will be visible from the second half of March as they show up in the pre-dawn sky. They won’t appear to be quite as close as they were at the end of last year, but you can still view them together without having to switch your gaze to another part of the sky.
“So, if you’re up early, grab a warm drink and step outside to commune with the largest planets in our solar system,” NASA suggests.
For a full rundown of everything to look out for this month, check out JPL’s comprehensive listing on its website.
And, in case you’re interested in all of the past, present, and future missions to Mars, Digital Trends has you covered.