Whenever we gaze upon a dark night sky, we expect to see stars, planets, the Milky Way, and more.
But throughout March of 2022, there haven’t been any planets to see.
The reason is simple: the naked-eye planets are all located on Earth’s “Sun-facing” side.
After sunset and throughout most of the night, the sky will be pristine, particularly after moonset.
But in the early morning hours, just before sunrise, numerous planets finally emerge.
During mid-March, Venus and Mars appear first: very close to one another.
On March 16th, they’ll be separated by only 4° from one another: less than three fingers width at arm’s length.
Venus, the brightest planet, outshines Mars by a factor of nearly 200.
On March 20th, Venus reaches its greatest separation from the Sun: maximum elongation.
As the days progress, Saturn joins Venus and Mars, creating a beautiful triangle on March 24th.
While the three prominent lights dance nightly, the waning Moon joins them on March 28-29th, creating a quartet.
Then, on April 4th, Saturn and Mars reach conjunction, separated by only 0.3°, with nearly identical brightnesses.
Throughout April, Jupiter joins Saturn, Mars, and Venus, creating a near-perfect pre-dawn line on April 20th.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.