For two days in early March, Mars glides between a close pair of nebulae in the constellation Sagittarius the Lagoon (M8) and the much dimmer Trifid (M20). Take a look with large binoculars or a wide-field telescope before the very first light of dawn on the 5th and 6th. As the map here shows, the nebulae are only 1.4° apart. The ticks show Mars's position at 11:00 Universal Time (5:00 a.m. Central Standard Time). If you're not certain where to find the red planet, use our
interactive sky chart
to help you locate Mars as it rises in the southeast about 5:00 a.m. local time.