View the large planet alignment at dusk 3/27 and 3/28

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 4:07 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Different planets line up from time-to-time for our visual entertainment. This is the first for 2023 with Mars, Mercury, Uranus, Venus and Jupiter on center stage in the night sky.

“The solar system is like a big clock,” says Paul McFarlane with the Fleischmann Planetarium on the UNR Campus. “And we are racing around like a carousel or racetrack. So, the planets appear to us along the line sometimes they appear together. And that makes it particularly fun.”

To see the full array of planets get outside before dusk. About 7:20 pm acclimate yourself to the sky,

First find the brightest star in the sky. That would be Venus.

Visually follow it down to the western horizon. Here find Mercury and Jupiter. But get a good look as those two planets will disappear over the horizon once the sun completely sets.

Find Venus again and look above it for the Moon and Mars. This next step, go back to Venus.

Adjacent to it will be Uranus.

“But Uranus was discovered with a telescope, and you really need a telescope to be able to see it,” says McFarlane. “Large binoculars might be able to spot it if you know where to look. But it is definitely a telescope object so you can resolve the disc. Or maybe be able to see its beautiful little moons.”

McFarlane says there’s nothing significant to this five planets alignment in the sky. Just exciting to see as it doesn’t happen every day.

Because this phenomenon includes five planets it’s called the large planetary alignment. The next large alignment occurs in the morning on June 17, 2023, involving Mercury, Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn. Catch these 5 planets the next two nights at dusk with the help of a telescope to see Uranus.

However, it doesn’t look like the weather is going to cooperate here in the Truckee Meadows.

The next best advice is to come to the Planetarium on Friday and Saturday, where there’s never any cloud cover.