5 planets will align in the night sky this week. Here’s how to see them
5 planets will align in the night sky this week. Here’s how to see them

5 planets will align in the night sky this week. Here’s how to see them

A stargazer waits for the Perseid meteor shower to begin near Bobcaygeon, Ontario, August 12, 2015. Picture taken August 12, 2015. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Keep an eye to the sky this week for a chance to see a planetary hangout.

Five planets — Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus and Mars — will line up near the moon.

Where and when can you see them?

The best day to catch the whole group is Tuesday. You’ll want to look to the western horizon right after sunset, said NASA astronomer Bill Cooke.

The planets will stretch from the horizon line to around halfway up the night sky. But don’t be late: Mercury and Jupiter will quickly dip below the horizon around half an hour after sunset.

READ MORE: Astronomers discover 12 new moons around Jupiter, jumping total to 92

The five-planet spread can be seen from anywhere on Earth, as long as you have clear skies and a view of the west.

“That’s the beauty of these planetary alignments. It doesn’t take much,” Cooke said.

KUWAIT-ASTRONOMY-MOON

A view of the waxing crescent moon and Venus (bottom) following a lunar occultation of the second planet from the sun, from Kuwait City, March 24, 2023. Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP via Getty Images

Do I need binoculars?

Maybe. Jupiter, Venus and Mars will all be pretty easy to see since they shine brightly, Cooke said. Venus will be one of the brightest things in the sky, and Mars will be hanging out near the moon with a reddish glow. Mercury and Uranus could be trickier to spot, since they will be dimmer. You’ll probably need to grab a pair of binoculars.

WATCH: Mercury parades between Earth and the sun

If you’re a “planet collector,” it’s a rare chance to spot Uranus, which usually isn’t visible, Cooke said. Look out for its green glow just above Venus.

Does this happen often?

Different numbers and groups of planets line up in the sky from time to time. There was a five-planet lineup last summer and there’s another one in June, with a slightly different makeup.

This kind of alignment happens when the planets’ orbits line them up on one side of the sun from Earth’s perspective, Cooke said.

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