Published by Bold Creations by TJ 3/25/2023
This week, sky-gazers will be in for a special treat. Five planets will be visible to the naked eye in the night sky, offering a rare opportunity for an awe-inspiring celestial display. With Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury and Uranus all visible, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see five planets in alignment.
The alignment of the planets and the moon will form within a small 50-degree sector in the night sky, according to Star Walk Space. The planetary phenomenon is expected to be arranged in the shape of an arc.
1) What You Need to Know
From nearest to furthest from the sun, the planetary order is Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are five of these simpler planets that are easier to see than others.
Skywatchers will have a tough time viewing the entire 2023 five-planet alignment, because of several factors. The main one is how far each planet is from Earth.
2) When and Where to Look
According to Business Insider in order to see Jupiter and Mercury, folks should find a dark place, away from city lights, before sunset. Look to the west with a clear view of the horizon with as few clouds, trees, buildings, or mountains as possible. When the sun dips below the horizon, peer low on the horizon to spot that pair. There won’t be much time. They won’t even last an hour.
Don't worry if there’s a problem seeing what's in space one night. This miracle in the sky will last almost a week.
The planets will make their debut on Saturday, March 25. The best opportunity to see them will be next Tuesday, March 28, and the show will end on Thursday, March 30.
3) What You'll See
Five planets - Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus, and Mars - will be drawing a circle in the sky, while the moon adds extra light.
In terms of visibility, Venus should be the easiest since it is the third brightest object in the sky, after the sun and the moon. Venus will be located above Jupiter.
According to the Daily Mail, Mars, the red planet, will be a bit fainter but will still be observed easily with the naked eye. It will be near the moon which is near the first quarter phase.
The most challenging planet to view is Uranus, and most people will need binoculars or a telescope to spot the frigid giant planet.
4) How Rare is this Event?
According to NASA, this fascinating phenomenon occurs depending on the amount of time each planet takes to complete one orbit around the sun. Because the duration for each orbit differs per planet, this explains why planetary alignments are rare — especially those larger in size, like this one.
Alignments comprised of the same planets are considered rarer in comparison to just any planetary conjunction. For example, the last planetary alignment to form took place in June 2022 — with Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus visible from Earth — but that specific alignment isn't expected to form again until 2040.