Night Sky in March 2023: Astronomical Events Tonight

Star Walk
5 min readFeb 28, 2023
Image Credit: Vito Technology, Inc.

Here, you’ll find information on all the visible planets, comets, meteor showers, and special celestial events in March 2023. To get an accurate view of the sky from your location every night, try the free astronomy app Sky Tonight.

Best visible night sky events

Visible planets

Northern Hemisphere, evening

See the prominent Venus (magnitude -4.0) above the western horizon, beginning the month in Pisces and then moving to Aries. The red planet Mars (magnitude 0.8) can be seen in the constellation Taurus. Jupiter (magnitude -2.0) is low above the western horizon in the constellation Pisces. Viewing conditions are poor for this planet in March — it will be visible for no more than an hour. Observers with binoculars or telescopes can look for Uranus (magnitude 5.7) in the constellation Aries.

To find an object in the sky, use the Sky Tonight app. With real-time updates and location-based data, it helps you identify celestial objects, track planet visibility, and plan stargazing nights. This app is an essential resource for amateur astronomers exploring the universe.

Northern Hemisphere, morning

Look for Neptune (magnitude 7.9) in late March. It becomes a morning object after its solar conjunction on March 15. The planet moves into the constellation Pisces on March 5 and stays there for the rest of 2023.

Southern Hemisphere, evening

Venus (magnitude -4.0) is visible low above the western horizon. It’s in Pisces at the beginning of March, then moves to Aries. Look north for Mars (magnitude 0.8) in Taurus. Jupiter (magnitude -2.0) can be seen until late March, low over the western horizon in the constellation Pisces. Spot dimmer Uranus (magnitude 5.7) in the northwest in the constellation Aries.

Southern Hemisphere, morning

View Mercury (magnitude -0.9) at the beginning of the month near the eastern horizon at dawn in the constellation Aquarius. Saturn (magnitude 1.0) can be seen low in the east for no more than an hour, also in Aquarius.Neptune (magnitude 7.9) begins the month as an evening object and then becomes visible in the morning in late March. Spot it near the horizon in the east in the constellation Pisces.

March equinox

On March 20, 2023, at 21:25 GMT (4:25 p.m. EST), the first equinox of the year takes place. In the Northern Hemisphere, it marks the beginning of spring; in the Southern Hemisphere, it brings the first day of autumn. On this day, neither of the Earth’s hemispheres is tilted towards the Sun and people in most places will experience an almost equal day and night. Learn more about this event from our dedicated article.

Comets

The best comet of 2023, C/2022 E3 (ZTF), loses much of its brightness in March, fading to a visual magnitude of 9. Only experienced comet observers will be able to see it from now. It begins the month in Taurus and moves to Eridanus on the 4th, remaining there throughout March.

Amateur observers from the Northern Hemisphere have a chance to see another comet — C/2020 V2 (ZTF). To locate the comet in the sky, use the Sky Tonight app. C/2020 V2 (ZTF) reached magnitude 10 last month and will remain so till the end of March. After that, it will disappear into the Sun’s glare. It will reappear in June, favoring the Southern Hemisphere.

Those who live in the Southern Hemisphere can observe C/2017 K2 in the constellation Eridanus. From those latitudes, the comet is always above the horizon (or circumpolar). It has a magnitude of about 8 but fades throughout March. From the Northern Hemisphere, C/2017 K2 isn’t observable until summer.

Meteor showers

In March, only one meteor shower — γ-Normids (Gamma Normids) — reaches its peak of activity. It’s not visible from northern latitudes, but observers from southern latitudes can try to see it. γ-Normids reach their maximum activity on March 14, producing about 6 meteors per hour. The last quarter Moon will be 45% illuminated on this day, rising around midnight and setting around midday. So look out for the meteors before our natural satellite appears in the sky.

Even in the months without prolific meteor showers, you can try to catch a few “shooting stars”. On moonless nights, go outside and look at the night sky. There’s a chance you’ll see sporadic meteors — those not associated with a particular meteor shower.

How to navigate the night sky?

The best helper for observing the night sky is the mobile app Sky Tonight:

  1. Stay up-to-date on celestial events: Sky Tonight sends you alerts about meteor showers, eclipses, and other celestial events, so you don’t miss any opportunities to see the night sky at its best.
  2. Discover celestial objects you’ve never heard of before: the app’s database of stars, constellations, and other celestial objects is comprehensive, making it easy to find and learn about new things in the night sky. All the objects are available for free!
  3. Plan stargazing trips: Sky Tonight helps you find the best night for observations for your location, so you can plan the time to see the stars in all their glory.
  4. Learn about astronomy: the app’s educational resources and guides can help you deepen your understanding of the night sky, making stargazing an even more enriching experience.
  5. Share your love of astronomy: with its easy-to-use interface and customizable features, the Sky Tonight app is the perfect tool for introducing others to the joys of stargazing.

Bottom line

March 2023 meets the needs of most stargazers. During this month, planetary enthusiasts can see all the Solar System planets, including the meeting of the brightest planets — Venus and Jupiter. Amateur stargazers can practice their skills by observing faint comets through telescopes. Those who love the theory of astronomy can deepen their knowledge of the equinox and witness its signs for themselves. For upcoming celestial events in the other months of the year, read our dedicated article.

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