When and how to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus at the same time
Good news, sky watchers and amateur astronomers. There will be a planetary alignment at the end of March that you definitely won’t want to miss.
Now there won’t be a literal straight line of planets visible in the night sky, but at least five planets – plus the moon – will all be visible as seen from Earth in an almost arcuate shape.
What is planetary alignment?
More strictly, a planetary alignment is when several planets form a line as seen from the Sun, and at other times the planets may form an arc.
But typically, a planetary alignment involves a number of different planets clustered closely to one side of our sun, according to the starwalk.space website.
Which planets will be visible when?
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus will all be visible during this planetary alignment phase in late March, according to starwalk.space.
The best day to see these planets and the moon is March 28, but if you have the right gear, you can actually enjoy this celestial event a few days before and even after the 28th, according to Rick Fienberg, Sr Contributing Editor for Sky & Telescope and Senior Advisor to the American Astronomical Society.
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Location, location, location
Even though all five planets are in the same area of the night sky this month, catching all five at once could prove difficult depending on where you are.
Jupiter and Mercury will appear very low in the western sky just after sunset, Fienberg told FOX TV Stations.
“Unless you have clear skies and an almost flat western horizon with no obstructions like trees or buildings, you won’t see Jupiter and Mercury,” Fienberg said.
However, if you have all of the above benefits, you can could possibly see Jupiter and Mercury with binoculars, along with the other three planets.
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Jupiter will actually appear brighter than Mercury, too, Fienberg said.
The brightest planet from the bunch will be Venus.
Venus will be higher in the sky, to the upper left of Jupiter and Mercury, and you can’t miss this one.
Venus will appear brighter than any star, and you don’t need any equipment to see it, Fienberg said.
The elusive Uranus might be a little harder to find without visual aids, Fienberg advised.
Uranus will appear near Venus, but it will be very faint. In fact, you’ll probably need a telescope to distinguish it from the surrounding stars.
Finally, Mars will also appear very high in the southwestern sky and have a distinctly orange hue.
Plan your look
“On the 27th, the crescent moon is below and to the right of Mars,” noted Fienberg. “On the 28th the Moon will be in the first quarter above and to the left of Mars.”
Let FOX Weather help you decide the best place to watch from. You can add events in the FOX Weather app’s Schedule tab and keep an eye on the weather in different locations to identify the clearest point.
Happy planet hunt!