GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A rare planetary alignment is expected to grace clear skies on the evening of March 28.
As many as five planets will be visible in the night sky but some will shine more brightly than others.
A planetary alignment happens when planets gather on our side of the sun, allowing the sunlight to glint off of them in our night sky. This alignment will feature the planets Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus and Mars. Experts say the best time to spot the show will be right after sunset in the western sky.
While the five planets will technically be present in the western sky on March 28, some may be hard to spot. Mercury will barely climb just above the horizon for the show. Any location obscured by trees, elevation, or buildings may struggle to see it.
Jupiter will appear a degree away from Mercury. It will be brighter but it will also be low on the horizon.
Venus is the brightest planet and will be easy to spot in the western sky. Directly next to Venus will be the dim planet Uranus. This planet is one of the hardest to see from Earth, and will likely need the aid of binoculars to spot on March 28.
Mars will be higher in the sky and located more to the southwest near the moon. It will have a dustier appearance than the others with a faint orange or red hue.
While the alignment will be clearest on March 28, most of the planets will be able to be seen a few days before and after that date. For best viewing, experts recommend heading to a place away from city lights with a clear sky and no obstructions on the horizon.