5 Planets Will Align in the Night Sky — Here’s How To See It

published Mar 22, 2023
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Calling all space lovers! Prepare to be treated to a stunning planetary alignment to close out the month of March. For those who might be unaware, a planetary alignment (also known as a “planet parade”) is an astronomical event when planets gather closely on one side of the sun at the same time, as seen from above the Solar System.

According to the astronomy app Star Walk, five planets within our solar system will be visible at the end of March: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus. Although the app points out that the evening of Tuesday, March 28 is the best day to check out this fairly rare celestial event for yourself, you can also catch the alignment several days before and after that.

Contrary to popular belief, planetary alignments don’t always show up in a perfectly straight line. This time, they’ll appear in an arc, although some will definitely be more visible than others, such as Jupiter (with a magnitude of -2.1), Mercury (with a magnitude of -1.3), and Venus (with a magnitude of -4.0). Jupiter and Mercury can be spotted in the constellation Pisces, while Venus sits slightly higher in the sky, alongside the constellation Aries.

According to Star Walk, the slightly dimmer Uranus will be a bit more difficult to spot, with a magnitude of 5.8. Luckily, you don’t need to invest in some fancy equipment to check out the seventh planet — just grab some binoculars! Uranus is also located in the constellation Aries, while Mars (which has a magnitude of 0.9) sits even higher in the sky, and will be slightly more visible near the first quarter Moon in the constellation of Gemini.

As with any stargazing expedition, your best shot for spotting planets is to head to a dark, low light pollution area with a trusty pair of binoculars or telescope.

But if you happen to miss this particular planet party, don’t worry! Here’s a list of other alignments to look forward to in 2023:

  • April 11 & 24: Alignment of Mars, Venus, Uranus, and Mercury
  • May 29: Alignment of Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, and Uranus
  • June 17: Alignment of Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Mercury, and Uranus
  • July 26: Alignment of Mars, Venus, and Mercury
  • August 24: Alignment of Neptune, Saturn, Jupiter, and Uranus