Rare planetary alignment - How to catch it

“Planetary parade” on display Tuesday
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 4:39 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A rare “planetary parade” will be on display Tuesday evening.

Just after sunset, Mercury and Jupiter will appear near the western horizon. Continuing a path up in the sky, Venus, Uranus, Mars and the Moon will align. A similar planetary alignment will not be visible again until 2040.

Planetary alignment
Planetary alignment(WVUE)

A planetary alignment is described to be when planets gather closely on one side of the Sun at the same time, as seen from above the solar system as well as when planets gather in a small group in the sky as seen from the earth. Planetary parades occur when several planets are located in the same zodiac constellation.

Jupiter and Mercury will be located in the constellation Pisces. Venus and Uranus will be located in the constellation Aries while Mars will line up higher in the sky near the first quarter Moon in the constellation Gemini.

The sun sets at 7:16 PM on Tuesday, leaving the event visible for just over a half an hour. You’ll need a pair of strong binoculars in order to see Uranus stationed just above and to the left of Venus. The rest of the plants are visible with the naked eye.

Planets do not form a perfectly straight line in the sky during planetary alignments. All of the planets orbit the sun in nearly the same plane. Because of this, planets appear to track across the sky along the ecliptic - the Sun’s yearly path across the sky.

March 28 is the best day for observing the planetary parade, but it will be visible for a few days after as well.

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