Astrophotographers and astronomy enthusiasts rejoice, as this week we’ll be treated to a “planetary parade.” Starting tonight, as many as five planets of our solar system will get aligned in the sky: Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus, and Mars.
[Related reading: This gorgeous collage shows ten days of rare alignment of Venus and Jupiter]
On the evening of March 28, the five planets will gather within a small 50-degree sky sector in the West. You’ll see the planets stretching from the horizon line to around halfway up the night sky. If you plan on observing and shooting the “parade,” start your observations right after sunset. You don’t wanna be late, as Mercury and Jupiter will disappear below the horizon only half an hour after sunset.
The great news is that this “celestial parade” will be visible from anywhere on Earth, and all you need is your own eyes, and maybe binoculars. “Jupiter, Venus and Mars will all be pretty easy to see since they shine brightly,” said NASA astronomer Bill Cooke. “Venus will be one of the brightest things in the sky, and Mars will be hanging out near the moon with a reddish glow.” However, Mercury and Uranus will be dimmer, so a pair of binoculars will help you spot them as well. Uranus is generally difficult to spot, so this an excellent opportunity to add it to your “collection” of the planets you’ve seen. Cooke advises that you look for a green glow right above Venus.
While the evening of March 28 is the best for observation, don’t be alarmed if it’s cloudy tonight. You’ll still get the chance to see the planets aligned over the next few days, so be sure to use it. And if you take any photos, feel free to share; we’d love to see them!
[via U.S. News]