The third month of 2021 appears to be making up for February’s uneventful night skies. We have at least five astronomical events to look forward to this time, and the Al Sadeem Astronomy has prepared below a calendar for March’s sky events. All dates and times were given in UAE Local Time (UTC+4).
1. Mercury-Jupiter Conjunction
The smallest and the largest planets will be in tight conjunction (about 0.34 degrees apart) in the dawn sky (before sunrise). Make sure your south-east horizon is clear of any obstruction or haze to be able to see the Mercury-Jupiter pair.
2. Mercury at greatest western elongation
When an inferior planet like Mercury is visible before sunrise, this phenomenon is called the greatest western elongation. Elongation, as per astronomy jargon, the angular distance in celestial longitude separating the Moon or a planet from the Sun.
3. Moon-Jupiter-Saturn Appulse
Heads up for a triple treat on March 10! The Moon will be at mag -10.4, and Saturn will be at mag 0.6. Both can be found in the constellation Capricornus. Also visible to the southwest of the Moon-Jupiter-Saturn appulse is the planet, Mercury.
4. Conjunction of Moon and Mars
March ain’t March if not for Mars—the planet it was named after—so don’t miss it in the night sky with the Moon passing 1°55′ to the south of the Red Planet.
5. March Equinox
On this day, the Sun will shine directly on the equator. This means that there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world.
Astronomy Calendar of Celestial Events 2021. (n.d.). Retrieved from Sea and Sky: www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2021.html
Calendar of Astronomical Events. (n.d.). Retrieved from In-The-Sky.org: http://in-the-sky.org/newscal.php?year=2021&month=3&maxdiff=4#datesel
Sunrise and sunset times in Abu Dhabi, March 2021. (n.d.). Retrieved from timeanddate.com: https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/united-arab-emirates/abu-dhabi?month=3&year=2021