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Four planets visible simultaneously in March


Andrew Yee, astronomer
February 29, 2012 — In the first half of March, four planets are visible at the same time after sunset.


Mars appears as a prominent orange dot throughout the month
Mars appears as a prominent orange dot throughout the month

Mars prominent in the eastern sky

Looking toward the darkening eastern sky, Mars appears as a prominent orange dot throughout the month. Mars hasn't reached this level of brightness since January 2010. The reason is its closest separation with Earth on March 5.

Great show of Venus, Jupiter, Mercury and crescent Moon in evening twilight sky

At the same time in the opposite direction in the fading twilight western sky, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury and the Pleiades star cluster put on a series of great shows.

Watch Venus and Jupiter close the gap between them while Mercury makes a fine evening appearance much closer to the horizon in the first half of the month. After Venus and Jupiter come to the closest separation on the 13th, the two planets drift apart.

During the last week, a crescent Moon enters the scene to make a nice pairing on three consecutive evenings with Jupiter, Venus and the Pleiades star cluster.

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