The stars have aligned—or at least the planets have—and on March 28, five planets will be visible to stargazers in the northern hemisphere. Jupiter, Mercury, Uranus, Mars, and Venus will line up in a large planetary alignment just after sunset. While an alignment of two or three planets is fairly common, seeing five grace the sky at once is a rare treat.
Mercury and Jupiter will be visible near the horizon, while Venus will shine higher up in the sky and Mars will be near the first quarter of the Moon. These four planets—especially Mercury and Jupiter—will be easy to spot. But, not all of the planets will be visible to the naked eye. Given its distance from Earth, binoculars or a telescope are a must in order to see Uranus.
If you are interested in seeing the planetary alignment, there are apps that can help you understand what you can expect to see. For instance, using the Sky Tonight app, you'll be able to quickly discover the planets in the sky at your location, as well as their visibility conditions.
In fact, your location, as well as weather conditions, will be the main factors in determining whether or not you'll be able to see the rare event. “Unless you have a clear sky and a nearly flat western horizon free of obstructions such as trees or buildings, you won't see Jupiter and Mercury,” shares Rick Fienberg, senior contributing editor at Sky & Telescope.
And if for some reason you miss this large planetary alignment, don't worry. There are two smaller alignments set for April. On April 11, Mercury, Uranus, Venus, and Mars will make an appearance in the sky. And then, a few weeks later on April 29, the same group will have an encore.
h/t: [Daily Mail]