See Mars, Uranus, Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury All at Once in Tonight's Sky
It's a planet parade!
The night sky’s getting a bit crowded this evening as not one but five planets make an appearance — with a near meeting of the moon and Mars, which will appear just two degrees apart.
According to stargazing app Starwalk, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus, and Mars will all shimmer within a 50-degree stretch of the western sky after sunset on Tuesday. At the top of this planet parade you’ll find the first quarter moon and Mars. Uranus, Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury have also coupled up beneath the red planet.
Mercury, which crosses within 1.5 degrees of Jupiter around 11 a.m. EDT, will appear six degrees north of the Gas Giant by evening, according to Astronomy.com. Uranus will pass just above Venus as well. The spectacle will be visible in the days leading up to and following the March 28 alignment, per CBS News.
The best time to view the planet parade is just after sunset. Jupiter and Mercury will appear closest to the horizon; that means you’ll need a clear western horizon view to take in the full planetary display. Have stargazing apps like SkySafari handy to not only locate, but learn about, the five planets while you watch.
Gear-wise, you can spot Jupiter, Venus, and Mars with the naked eye, but a pair of stargazing binoculars will help you distinguish Mercury and Uranus from other stars.
While the term planet parade is unofficial space slang for a lineup of planets, the term “planetary alignment” refers to anywhere from three planets (a mini planetary alignment) to five or six, like tonight’s show, which is technically a large planetary alignment.
If you miss this week’s event, 2023 has more planetary alignments in store. Spring will see two more small evening alignments, according to Starwalk, while summer will welcome another five-planet parade on the morning of June 17.
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