Whoa! 5 Planets Should Be Visible in the Sky in the Coming Days—Here’s What You Need To Know
No telescope required to see Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Mars.
Although it's not uncommon to see several planets align in the sky at the same time, many of us would never notice. Unless you are a space enthusiast, you may think you were just seeing more stars. However, knowing about it ahead of time gives you something to search for and hopefully see. Luckily, during the last week of March, there will be a rare occurrence of five planets in planetary alignment at the same time. Better yet, most of the planets should be visible to the naked eye!
The wonders in the sky are always fascinating. That's why many of us love viewing unusual phenomena like a green comet, an eclipse or a blood moon. These things don't happen every day and if we can catch a glimpse it feels like a very special opportunity. It's no different from seeing planets align. When you know what to look for, they are amazing to see.
That's why we put together this guide with what to look for and when. You will have a few days of opportunity so read on to ensure that you get the best chance for observing this rare alignment of five planets.
Related: 75 Best Moon Quotes for Starry Nights and Big Dreams
What Is a Planetary Alignment?
A planetary alignment is when several planets line up on one side of the sun at the same time. There will be at least three planets and can be a full alignment of all eight planets. According to NASA, this alignment depends on the amount of time it takes each planet to orbit around the sun. It's not too often that each planet completes its cycle at the same time. Since each planet orbits at a different rate of speed, it truly is special when they end up in a line together.
Related: Are Earthquakes Increasing in Number? What's the Largest Quake on Record? 22 Fascinating Earthquake Facts
What Planets Will Be Visible?
There are five planets that are set to align and be visible. These planets include Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Mars. They won't be in a straight line but in more of an arc formation.
When Will the 5 Planets Be Visible?
All of these planets will become visible on the nights of March 25 through March 30. However, Jupiter might disappear into the sunset after March 28, so if you want to see all five planets, it's best to try and view them before then.
Venus will be the planet that is easiest to spot because it's the brightest. The rest of the planets should be easy to see with binoculars or even the naked eye, depending on the conditions. The planets should be visible from anywhere on earth, but the Northern Hemisphere should offer the clearest view.
Related: When Is the Next Eclipse? Plus, Astronomers and Astrologists Answer Your Burning Eclipse Questions
How To Ensure a Good Viewing
The key to a good viewing is a clear night with an unobstructed view of the horizon. It also helps to get away from big city lights and to a darker area in the country. Just after sunset should be the best time for catching a glimpse of Jupiter and Mercury. However, you will also need to know where to look in the sky for each planet.
Venus will be high in the sky and easiest to spot because it is the brightest. Uranus will be near Venus but much fainter. In fact, you may need binoculars to view Uranus. Both Jupiter and Mercury will be low in the sky right after sunset. Mars will be shining in a reddish hue and it will be above and to the left of the crescent moon.
If you need a little more help in identifying what you are looking for, there is an app for that! Just download Sky Tonight to see a visual of exactly where the planets are located in the night sky.
Related: Look Up! A Huge Asteroid Will Be Flying Between the Earth and Moon This Week
Watch for the Bonus Planet Saturn
It's possible that you will also be able to view Saturn on the mornings of March 27 and March 28 just before sunrise. It just won't be visible in the evening with the other planets.
How Often Are Multiple Planets Visible All at the Same Time?
According to Star Date, the inner planets of Mercury, Venus and Mars align and are visible as often as every few months because they are so fast-moving. However, the slower-moving outer planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune occur much less frequently and it's more like every 20 years or more that we get this phenomenon.