Solar System’s Brightest to Converge in Planetary Parade

Mar 28, 2023

Want to see five planets at once? Scope out the night sky just after sunset on Tuesday. 

The convergence will take place on the western horizon. Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus, and Mars will create an arc that will seem capped by the crescent moon. A few planets, like Venus, Jupiter, and Mars, will be easy to spot (provided it’s a clear evening). Mercury and Uranus might require some squinting — or a pair of binoculars.

Timing may be tricky, astronomers warn. Mercury and Jupiter will drop below the horizon line about 30 minutes after sunset. On the bright side (or the dark side, depending on how you look at it), the parade of planets can be seen from anywhere on Earth.

“That’s the beauty of these planetary alignments. It doesn’t take much,” a NASA astronomer told The Associated Press.

To pick out individual planets, look for their signatures. In Mars’ case, it’s a reddish-orange glow. Venus will dazzle as one of the brightest objects in the sky. Jupiter will also shine brightly. Mercury will be just above the horizon. Uranus will hover over Venus. It will give off a slight green glow.

Though the planets will be at their brightest Tuesday night, the Earth’s position will keep them visible for the next two weeks. And if you miss this month’s display, don't worry. Mercury, Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn will convene again in the early morning hours of June 17. 

Photo from Reuters.

An interrogative sentence asks a question. Which of the following quotes from the story uses an interrogative sentence to introduce the main idea of the article? (Common Core RI.5.5; RI.6.5)
a. “And if you miss this month’s display, don't worry.”
b. “Want to see five planets at once?”
c. "Timing may be tricky, astronomers warn.”
d. “Mercury and Uranus might require some squinting — or a pair of binoculars.”
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