If you missed the three-planet cosmic kiss in early March, take note of an even bigger event this week.
A rare, large planetary alignment of Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Mars will be visible in the night sky around Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
Here are two common definitions of a planetary alignment:
- An astronomical event when planets gather closely on one side of the sun at the same time, as seen from above the solar system.
- A visual phenomenon when the planets appear close together in a small sky sector, as seen from the earth.
When to see it
The best time for observing this event will be just after sunset of March 28, but you may also see some of these planets a few days before and after that date if skies are clear.
Although Venus, Jupiter and Mars will be visible with the naked eye, you’ll have an easier time seeing them with Mercury and Uranus (which are fainter) with binoculars.
This rare kind of parade by the five planets is not the only spectacle in 2023. Smaller planetary alignments are set to happen on April 11 and 24, May 29, June 17, July 26 and Aug. 24.
The next major planetary arrangement in the sky will happen on September 8, 2024, in which five planets will take stage with one another in the sky, along with a crescent moon.