This week is special for astronomers as they will get a chance to catch five planets hanging out together. And the best day to catch the entire group is on Tuesday (March 28). Keep an eye to the sky this week for a chance to see this special planetary hangout.
Keep an eye on the sky this week as five planets Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus and Mars are all set to line up near the moon.
Where and when can you see them?
According to NASA astronomer you’ll have to look to the western horizon right after sunset.
The planets will stretch from the horizon line to around halfway up the night sky. But, you must not be late for Mercury and Jupiter will quickly dip below the horizon around half an hour after sunset.
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The five-planet spread can be seen from anywhere on Earth, as long as you have clear skies and a view of the west. That’s the beauty of these planetary alignments, it clearly doesn’t take much.
Do I need binoculars?
Maybe. Jupiter, Venus and Mars will all be pretty easy to see since they shine brightly, Cooke said.
Venus will be one of the brightest thing in the sky, and Mars will be hanging out near the moon with a reddish glow. Mercury and Uranus could be trickier to spot, since they will be dimmer. You’ll probably need to grab a pair of binoculars.
If you’re a planet collector, it’s a rare chance to spot Uranus, which usually isn’t visible, Cooke said. Look out for its green glow just above Venus.
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Does this happen often?
Different numbers and groups of planets line up in the sky from time to time. There was a five-planet line-up last summer and there’s another one in June, with a slightly different make-up.
This kind of alignment happens when the planet’s orbits line them up on one side of the sun from the Earth’s perspective, Cooke said.