When, where, and how to see the rare alignment of 5 planets in the night sky this month

Image of a boy looking at the starry sky through the telescope

A boy looks through a telescope.MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images

Don’t miss the Planetary Parade, which takes place at the end of March.

Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Mars will align alongside the Moon in an arc formation on the nights of March 25-30.

However, Jupiter may dip into sunset after the 28th and get lost in the sunlight. So try to catch this relatively rare cosmic event until then.

If you want to discover all five planets in one night, timing, dark skies and a clear view of the horizon are key.

How to get ready for the Planetary Parade

night sky dark blue due to dark trees with two bright points over the sky venus and jupiter

The planets Venus (left) and Jupiter (right) with three visible moons appear close together in the sky above tree branches after dark.Ted S. Warren/AP photo

You can probably see some of these planets from the city. Venus is the easiest to see with the naked eye as it is the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon.

However, some of the other planets, such as Uranus and Mercury, may be harder to see. For the best chance, go to a place with dark skies, away from the city lights before sunset. Check the weather and plan for a cloudless evening.

Man silhouette standing on a rock and watching shooting stars in the night sky

A man stares at Brimham Rocks in Yorkshire as the Orionid meteor shower peaks.Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images

Set it up where you have a clear, unobstructed view of the western horizon—no mountains or buildings blocking the sunset! You have to look low on the horizon to spot Jupiter and Mercury.

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While most planets should be visible to the naked eye, you’ll likely need binoculars or even a telescope to see Uranus and see the full procession of the five planets.

An easy way to identify the planets is to download an astronomy app like Sky Tonight or SkySafari, which will show you exactly where each planet is in the night sky.

Where to look and what to expect in the hours after sunset

Just after the sun has dropped below the horizon, face west. Low in the sky, where the sun has just set, Jupiter and Mercury will appear side by side.

Dwindling sunlight could make them difficult to see with the naked eye. So if you can’t spot them at first, try using binoculars. Just make sure the sun is below the horizon so you don’t hurt your eyes when looking at them through binoculars.

The duo will only be visible for less than an hour after sunset. After that, they sink below the horizon and you can no longer see them.

purple sunset night sky illustration with bright points labeled for the moon jupiter venus mars and various stars

The most visible objects in the night sky on March 25, 2023.NASA

Now it’s time to admire Venus – the brightest “star” in the sky hovering over Jupiter – and keep your binoculars on the lookout for Uranus.

Uranus will be above and to the left of Venus, very close by. You can see the fainter planet best after all sunlight has cleared the sky, taking Jupiter and Mercury with it. You have an hour or two to look for it before this duo, too, sets below the horizon.

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On the other hand, you have enough time to explore the red planet Mars. Bright red and high in the southwest sky, it appears above and slightly to the left of the Crescent Moon from March 25-27, then under the Moon on March 28 and beyond.

Bonus planet: Saturn

If you stay up all night or wake up before dawn, you can see Saturn hanging low on the eastern horizon just before sunrise on March 27-28.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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