A plethora of worlds and a bright star will be visible in the early morning Wednesday (March 23) to predawn risers.
Let's start with the moon and Antares. The quarter moon will be glowing above the red star, which is called the "rival of Mars" because it looks so much like the Red Planet. Antares is the heart of the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion) and is notable to astronomers because the star is late in its life, as a red giant.
In the southeast before sunrise, you can also go planet-hunting as three bright worlds show up. All three are visible to the naked eye, but if you have binoculars or a telescope, you will see them a bit more clearly.
If you're looking for binoculars or a telescope to see planets in the night sky, check our our guide for the best binoculars deals and the best telescope deals now. If you need photography equipment, consider our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography to prepare for the next planet sight.
If you take a photograph of the planets and the moon, let us know! You can send images and comments in to email@example.com.
Venus is easy to catch in the southeast before sunrise, as it glows brightly in white at -4.7 magnitude. Just below it will be Mars, the Red Planet, getting closer to magnitude 1 as the month wears on. (For comparison, most people with normal vision can see stars as dim as magnitude 6 in a dark sky.)
Mars and Venus won't show much more detail in binoculars or a telescope, but you may get lucky with Saturn and see its rings. Saturn will be somewhat dim at 0.7 magnitude or so, but it should be bright enough to spot with the naked eye if you know where to look in the east-southeast portion of the sky.
Planetary alignments like this are happily common because the moon, Earth and planets all orbit along the same plane in our solar system, known as the ecliptic. So even if you are clouded out for this opportunity, you'll still have a chance to see Venus, Mars and Saturn in a celestial triangle before dawn on Sunday and Monday (March 27 and 28.)
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace