Venus dominates the early evening sky this month. The brightest of planet of all dazzles at mag. -4.8 and remains a brilliant object above the western horizon just after sunset. Given the brilliance of Venus, you might be forgiven for thinking there was only one planet on show during early evening, but there isn't. Currently located in the same region of sky are Mars and Uranus. The difference in brightness between the three planets is striking. Venus is 275x brighter than Mars (mag. +1.3), with Mars 70x brighter than Uranus (mag. +5.9).

A close conjunction occurs on February 27th, when Mars passes less than a degree north of Uranus. The Red planet then acts as a perfect marker for locating the much more distant Uranus. Both objects will be visible in the same binocular field of view and when minimum separation occurs at 8 UT, they will by only 0.6 degrees apart.

The diagrams below show the planetary positions and a telescopic view of the conjunction.

Venus and Mars one hour after sunset on February 27th from New York City (credit:- stellarium/freestarcharts)

Small telescope view of Mars and Uranus on February 27th (credit:- stellarium/freestarcharts)

Venus, Mars and Uranus during February 2017 (credit:- freestarcharts)

Venus, Mars and Uranus during February 2017 - pdf format (credit:- freestarcharts)

Sky Highlights - March 2017

Comet
Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak now visible with binoculars as it heads towards perihelion

Mercury
Mercury heading towards greatest elongation east

Minor Planet
Vesta now visible with binoculars and small telescopes.

The Planets
This Month's Guide

Algol Minima
Algol eclipse dates and times for March 2017

Northern Hemisphere
Evening
West:- Venus (mag. -4.8 to -4.1 - first half of month), Mars (mag. +1.3 to +1.5), Uranus (mag. +5.9), Mercury (mag. -1.5 to -0.4 - second half of month)
Midnight
Southeast:- Jupiter (mag. -2.3 to -2.5)
Morning
Southwest:- Jupiter
Southeast:- Saturn (mag. +0.5)

Southern Hemisphere
Evening
West:- Venus (first half of month), Mars, Uranus
Midnight
North:- Jupiter
East:- Saturn
Morning
West:- Jupiter
Northeast:- Saturn
East:- Neptune (mag. +8.0 - second half of month)

Deep Sky
Naked eye / binoculars:-
Melotte 111 - Mel 111 - The Coma Star Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 44 - M44 - The Praesepe (Open Cluster)

Telescopes:-
Messier 67 - M67 - Open Cluster
Messier 51 - M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy)
Messier 97 - M97 - The Owl Nebula (Planetary Nebula)
Messier 101 - M101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy)
Messier 65 – M65 – Spiral Galaxy
Messier 66 - M66 - Intermediate Spiral Galaxy
Messier 95 - M95 - Barred Spiral Galaxy
Messier 96 - M96 - Intermediate Spiral Galaxy
NGC 4244 - Spiral Galaxy
NGC 4565 - Needle Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy

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