SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY
Five-planet alignment may be visible in Tuesday night’s sky
Mar 28, 2023, 8:00 PM
(NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute via AP, File)
SALT LAKE CITY — If the sky is clear, a rare five-planet alignment will be visible in Tuesday night’s sky.
NASA Ambassador for Utah Patrick Wiggins Joins Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News to share everything he knows about the rare event.
According to Wiggins, the planets Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Mars will all be aligned and visible under the right conditions.
“There are several planets that will be kind of in a line tonight and really for the next couple of nights,” Wiggins says.
Wiggins goes on saying the five planets will be visible right after sunset.
“Probably within a few minutes of sunset, start scanning the western sky,” he says. “You might see Jupiter. That’s pretty bright, easy to see. And right next to it with binoculars, you might see mercury. Higher up in the sky, very bright Venus. I mean, that one’s going to be hard to miss with binoculars. Right next to it, a tiny and very faint planet, Uranus. And then move farther up the sky, we’ve got Mars, which is kind of reddish, and right next to that is the moon.”
While Wiggins calls this event unusual he says it’s not quite rare.
“It’s not the first time it’s happened and it won’t be the last,” he says. “The problem is that they’re going to be hard to see, even if it’s clear. Mercury and Uranus [will be] especially very hard to see, but they are going to be there.”
According to Wiggins, Mercury will be relatively easy to see and Uranus will be a bit more difficult. You may even need to use a telescope.
“But if you’re looking at Venus, you’re at least looking in the right area to where Uranus will be,” Wiggins says.
Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News can be heard on weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m.
Further reading: 2022’s extraordinary cosmic revelations and moments in space exploration
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