How to See the Rare “Planetary Parade” with 5 Planets Lined Up

Get ready for an astronomical spectacle as a rare “planetary parade” lights up the sky, featuring a lineup of five planets – Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus, and Mars. This exceptional event is a sight you won’t want to miss. So, how can you catch a glimpse of this cosmic phenomenon?

Best Time to Witness the Planetary Alignment

According to NASA astronomer Bill Cooke, Tuesday is the ideal day to observe this alignment. The planets will appear to extend from the horizon line to about midway up the night sky. The planetary parade became visible late last week and is anticipated to be observable for a couple of weeks, as per the astronomy website and app Star Walk.

Uranus, which is not usually visible, can also be seen during this alignment. Planetary alignments can be of various types, such as mini alignments with three planets, small alignments with four planets, and large alignments with five or six planets. More common are Small and mini alignments, with three small alignments expected in the near future (April 11, April 24, and May 29). The last five-planet alignment was visible in June 2022.

How to See the Planets Align

To witness this fantastic five-planet alignment, look to the western horizon at sunset. Sunset times differ and can be calculated using’s sun calculator. According to Cooke, “If you go outside, right at sunset, right after the sun goes down and look west, you’ll see these planets strung out in a line extending about 50 degrees or so.”

The time window to observe the planets under the crescent moon is short, as noted by Cameron Hummels, a computational astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology. While much of the alignment should be visible to the naked eye, even in urban areas with significant light pollution, using binoculars or a telescope can make it easier to see the planets. Cooke suggests that Jupiter, Venus, and Mars will be easy to spot, but binoculars might be needed for Mercury and Uranus.

Buzz Aldrin, the former Apollo astronaut, also tweeted about the alignment, encouraging stargazers to grab their binoculars and catch a glimpse of this rare event. So, hope for clear skies and get ready to witness this extraordinary planetary parade.

Mark Your Calendars for the Next Alignment

For those who miss this alignment, the next large alignment is scheduled for June 17, featuring Mercury, Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn. This upcoming event will be a morning alignment, as per Star Walk.

Planetary parade - a picture of a man standing outside his house looking up at the stars
Planetary parade – a picture of a man standing outside his house looking up at the stars

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