How to see the five planets visible in the night sky tonight
Stargazers are in for a treat this week as five planets are set to align beneath the moon in a planetary parade.
The five planets will be the most visible in the night sky just after sunset today (March 28), but we should be able to spot the planets for a few days after, too.
Several smaller planetary alignments will occur over the next couple of months, but a large planetary alignment, such as Tuesday’s sighting, will not occur again until June 17.
What’s more is that tonight, the planets will align within a small 50-degree sky sector but, in June, the planets will align in a larger 95-degree sky sector, so this week’s sighting is rare.
Which planets will be visible?
Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Uranus, and Mars will be visible in the night sky tonight.
In the UK, stargazers will easily be able to spot Venus and Jupiter, but seeing Mercury, Uranus, and Mars may prove to be a little more difficult.
How to see the planets
Venus is the brightest object in the sky, apart from the moon, so it should be easy to spot.
Uranus will appear near Venus, but stargazers may need to head somewhere without light pollution for a chance to catch a glimpse of the planet.
Jupiter and Mercury will appear below Venus and Uranus, and they should be visible for a short while just after sunset. Mars’s orange tint should make it easier to spot, too. This planet will be directly above Venus and Uranus.
Using binoculars or a small telescope will help you spot the planets.
What is planetary alignment?
Planetary alignment is an astronomical term and it means that multiple planets will gather at the same side of the sun at the same time.
A planetary parade is often used to describe a planetary alignment but is used more colloquially.
A mini planetary alignment is when three planets are visible, and a small planetary alignment is when four planets are visible.
As five planets will be visible on Tuesday, this is considered to be a large planetary alignment.
On the rare occasion all planets are visible, this is called a great or full planetary alignment.