Five Planets Will Be Visible in the Sky at the Same Time—Here's How to See Them

·3 min read
digital illustration of the solar system sun, earth and planetary moon, mars, jupiter, saturn, uranus, neptune and the dwarf pluto a row of planets and a stellar nebula in outer space clipping path included for the foreground objects opacity and bump textures for the earth and other planets map prepared via images from wwwnasagov earth texture images assetsnasagovimageiss040e016389iss040e016389origjpg
How to Watch 5 Planets Align in the Skyrbkomar
  • In late March, five planets will all be visible in the night sky, with an added sixth visible for two days in the very early morning.

  • You can spot Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus—and bonus planet Saturn—in the sky from March 25-30, though Jupiter may disappear by the March 28 and Saturn will only be visible on March 27 and 28 in the early morning hours.

  • Venus will be very bright, Mars should be easy to clock, and Jupiter should be relatively simple to spot, but Mercury and Uranus will be dimmer, and Uranus may require less ambient light and binoculars or a telescope to see.

If you have good, clear, dark skies at the end of March, you’ll be able to look up at night and see something pretty amazing: five planets all in a line.

From March 25-30, with peak visibility before March 28, an event that’s being referred to as the “parade of planets” will offer visibility of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus all in the same night sky. And they will all line up with the Moon.

Even though these planets will all be visible, as long as you aren’t working with a cloudy night, it’s probably going to be easier to spot some of our celestial neighbors than others. Venus will be very bright, as the “morning star” usually is, and you should be able to spot it even if you’re in a place with a fair amount of light pollution. And Mars will appear bright red and nearby the Moon.

Some of the other planets, however, might be a little more difficult to spot. Jupiter has a chance of dipping below the horizon by March 28, so make sure (if you can) to get out on the earlier side of the viewing window to catch it. Mercury will also be low in the sky. And Uranus, while present, will probably pretty dim, so you’ll have the best odds of spotting it away from any ambient lights. The planet may even require binoculars or a telescope to see.

“Wait until the sun has set and then go out and look low in that bright part of the sky where the sun has just set with binoculars,” Rick Fienberg, senior contributing editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, said in an NPR article, “and you should see brighter Jupiter next to fainter Mercury.”

And if you’re really determined to stay up late, you may have a shot at catching Saturn, too. It should appear low in the eastern part of the sky in the very early morning hours of March 27 and 28.

This event, while cool and a bit uncommon, is not a true planetary alignment. In astronomy, an alignment occurs when multiple planets line up in relation to the Sun, meaning that if you took a bird’s eye view of the solar system, you could trace a straight line from the Sun to the last of the planets in the alignment and hit all the other aligned planets along the way. The last time five planets were truly in alignment was in the summer of 2022, and that group of planets— Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn—is not expected to be in alignment again until 2040.

But even if the appearance of five—arguably six—planets at the end of this month isn’t a true alignment, it should still be a sight to see. If you have trouble finding the planets, or distinguishing them from stars in the sky, there are sky mapping apps that allow your phone to show you the locations of known objects in the sky.

See if you can spot them all before they dip out of view.

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