Time to mark your calendars, because we’re going to have a dazzling five-planet show in our night skies. For families who love to stargaze, a “planetary parade” is on the way — and it’s a sight you won’t want to miss.
What is this “planetary parade?”
According to Star Walk, an astronomy guide app, “planetary parade” isn’t a technical or official astronomy term, but it’s often used casually to talk about “planetary alignment.” It refers to when multiple planets are visible in the night sky at the same time.
“Planetary parade” does mean something different in astrology. In astrology terms, it happens when several plates are in the same zodiac constellation, Star Walk explains.
In this case, we’ve got a planetary alignment coming up where we will be able to see five planets up in the sky at the same time. The five planets are Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus, and Mars.
When can you see the “planetary parade?”
Mark your calendars for March 27th and March 28th. Those will be the best nights to see the planetary parade, but March 28th will likely be the better of the two nights — though you should be able to see the alignment either night.
The best time to start your viewing will be just after sunset.
How to watch the “planetary parade” with the kids
Once you’ve chosen the best date for you and the kids to stargaze, you’ll want to find a location that’s not clouded by city lights. Open fields or areas where there is space to see a lot of the sky will be the best options. You'll only need your eyes to see some of the planets, while others will be easier seen with strong binoculars.
Sky Walk explains that near the horizon, the two bright objects you’ll see will be Jupiter and Mercury. A little above the horizon from there, you can see Venus. But to see Uranus and Mars, you’ll need a pair of strong binoculars — Uranus will be not too far from Venus and Mars will be closer to the first quarter Moon.
Stargazing websites will be able to help you figure out where to look and in what direction.