See Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus at the same time
Good news, sky watchers!
There’s going to be a planetary alignment at the end of March and you definitely don’t want to miss it.
Now, there won’t be a literal straight line of planets seen in the night sky, but, at least five planets – plus the moon – will all be visible in almost an arc shape as seen from Earth.
What is planetary alignment?
In the strict sense, a planetary alignment happens when several planets form a line as seen from the Sun and other times the planets may form an arc.
But, typically, a planetary alignment will involve a number of different planets that gather together closely on one side of our sun, according to Starwalk.space’s website.
Which planets will be visible and when?
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus will all be visible during this late-March planetary alignment period, according to Starwalk.space.
The best day to see these planets and the moon will be on March 28, but if you’ve got the right equipment, you’ll actually get to enjoy this celestial event a few days before and even after the 28th, according to Rick Fienberg, senior contributing editor for Sky & Telescope and senior advisor to the American Astronomical Society.
Location, location, location
Even though all five planets will be in the same area of the night sky this month, actually catching all five at the same time could prove challenging depending on where you’re located.
Jupiter and Mercury will appear very low in the west just after sunset, Fienberg told FOX TV Stations.
"Unless you have a clear sky and a nearly flat western horizon free of obstructions such as trees or buildings, you won’t see Jupiter and Mercury," Fienberg said.
However, if you do happen to have all of the aforementioned advantages, you could potentially see Jupiter and Mercury in addition to the other three planets using binoculars.
Jupiter will actually appear brighter than Mercury as well, Fienberg said.
The brightest planet out of the bunch will be Venus.
FILE - Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly snapped this photo of the Earth’s crescent, the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter (from top to bottom) on Aug. 6, 2015, while he was aboard the International Space Station. (NASA)
Venus will be higher in the sky to the upper left of Jupiter and Mercury and, this one, you can’t miss.
Venus will appear brighter than any star and you won’t need any equipment to see it, Fienberg said.
The elusive Uranus might be a bit more difficult 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 just to distinguish it from surrounding stars.
And lastly, Mars will also appear very high in the southwest sky and it will have a noticeably orange hue.
"On the 27th the not-quite-quarter moon is below and to the right of Mars. On the 28th the first quarter moon is above and to the left of Mars," Fienberg advised.
Happy planet hunting!
This story was reported from Los Angeles.