Share this story...
Latest News

As spring nears, other planets will be visible in Arizona skies

(AP File Photo)

With spring in the air, we get to experience some of the best skies of all 2021.

As Arizona does not turn on Daylight Saving Time, we make up for that with some really interesting sights to see in both the evening and morning skies.

Spring, or the vernal equinox, occurs in Arizona on March 20 at 2:37 a.m.

This marks a true turning point for observers here in Arizona, as the sun will rise much earlier and set later. Daylight will reach some 12 hours and 32 minutes long by month’s end.

Our sky tour begins with the moon.

The month opens with the moon reaching last quarter phase March 5.

The dark of the moon, or new moon, will occur March 13.

This is the best time of the month to view faint sky objects without the light of the moon being a problem.

The moon then waxes and begins as a thin crescent until we reach first quarter on the 21st.

Look for the gibbous moon from this time period on until we reach the full worm moon on the afternoon of the 28th.

This is also known as the full paschal moon, the first full moon of the spring season 2021, which places Easter as the following Sunday, this year April 4.

This is also the beginning of the Passover season too.

Some say that this is the first of three super moons of 2021. The next two will occur April 27 and May 26. The May 26 super flower moon will also offer up a total eclipse of the moon.

Many planets will be visible in our March skies as we begin in the western sky just after sunset!

Look high in the southwestern sky just after dark for the planet Mars. With all the media attention now focused on this planet Mars is now some 150 million miles from Earth and still visible to the naked eye.

Mars and the moon will be close on the night of the night of the 19th.

Most of the planetary activity is centered on the morning sky, with Mercury at its greatest elongation in the morning, some 19 degrees from the rising sun.

Jupiter and Saturn are close in the predawn skies with the moon very close on the mornings of March 9 and 10.

Venus is all but invisible as it reaches superior solar conjunction on the 26th and then moves into the evening sky.

No major comets or meteor showers are expected in March, but things will heat up in the next few months with meteor showers.

Follow the three major Mars spacecraft for updates and breaking news here, here for Nasa projects; here for the United Arab Emirates’ Hope Mission; and here for China’s Tianwen-1 Mission.

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

Related Links