Rare Planetary Alignment Of 5 Planets To Light Up Arizona Sky

By Dani Medina

March 28, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

Clear your calendars for tonight, Arizona. A rare planetary alignment will light up the night sky and you won't want to miss it!

Mars, Uranus, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury will create an arc in the night sky on Tuesday (March 28). The planetary alignment ends Thursday, but Tuesday is the best night to see it with your own two eyes. To take a look, be sure to look into the western sky after sunset. More specifically, the best view is within half an hour of sunset, since the planets are expected to set below the horizon an hour after the sun sets, KHOU reports.

You'll get your best chance to check out the rare alignment if you stay away from tall buildings and city lights.

"So as soon as you go outside look to the west, and you'll be able to see Jupiter and Mercury near the horizon. Now both Mercury and Uranus are going to be very small so if you don't have a telescope the best way to see it is binoculars, but as far as the rest, Jupiter, Mars and Venus you should be able to see very easily," David Lasater, Director of the Miriam West and William Blanton Blakemore Planetarium, told KCENTV.

Lasater also shared why Tuesday night's sight is so exciting. "It is very, very far out. The distance from Uranus to Saturn is the same from Saturn to the sun roughly. So we're getting a great opportunity to see some of our outlying neighbors in the solar system with Uranus," he said. "To be able to see all of them in that curve I think really helps people get a size for the solar system, the wonder of our solar system and why astronomy and learning about our solar system is so important."

If you miss Tuesday night's alignment, 2023 is riddled with several of them, albeit not as large as this one. The next five-planet alignment won't occur until September 8, 2040. Here's a schedule:

  • April 11, 24: Small alignment of Mars, Venus, Uranus and Mercury
  • May 29: Small alignment of Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury and Uranus
  • June 17: Small alignment of Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Mercury and Uranus
  • July 26: Small alignment of Mars, Venus and Mercury
  • August 24: Small alignment of Neptune, Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus
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