Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Mars will align with the Moon across the night sky tonight, with “pretty much the entire solar system” on show for stargazers.
The spectacle was visible to some after sunset yesterday, but this evening is set to have the best chance of spotting the Parade of Planets by looking to the west.
Venus would be the easiest planet to see because it’s the brightest object in the night sky away from the Moon, while astronomers say Jupiter and Mars would also be “easily visible to the naked eye,” even from a bright city like London.
However, a telescope will likely be needed to look at Mercury and Uranus.
“You can see pretty much the entire solar system in one night,” said astronomer Rory Bentley of the University of California. popular science.
what a sight; Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Mars will align with the moon across the night sky tonight, as “pretty much the entire solar system” puts on show for stargazers.
Experts say escaping from city life will provide the best chance for clearer views because urban areas are more affected by light pollution.
How to Get a Good Presentation for “Planet Parade”
- Stay away from areas with a lot of light pollution, such as parking lots, sports complexes, and street lights
- Being at a higher altitude helps, because you’ll be above the dense air at lower altitudes that contains haze, haze, and smoke that blocks your view of the stars.
- Use the star app to direct your gaze to the right area of the night sky
- Check the weather – even the best locations are very cloudy sometimes!
5. Face toward the western horizon, where you should be able to see three planets in a neat line across the sky, along with the moon, with the naked eye
6. A telescope will probably be needed to look at Mercury and Uranus
Celestial observers are also needed Watch early in the evening because Mercury and Jupiter will quickly disappear over the horizon.
Professor Beth Beller, from the University of Edinburgh, told MailOnline: ‘The exact location in the UK is probably not critical. The most important thing is to be outside the city and to be somewhere where you have a good view of the skyline.
Planets are displayed when a number of worlds fall into the same constellation.
while It is not uncommon to see two or three planets in the sky, the alignment of five is even less common.
It happened last year, and in both 2020 and 2016 before that.
Professor Beller added: ‘VEnus and Jupiter are both very bright and easy to spot and you may have seen them close together over the past few weeks.
Mars is a little fainter, but it’s still easy to see with the naked eye. Mercury starts to get tricky – you need to be in a dark location with a clear view of the horizon if you want to see Mercury.
Planetary alignments like this happen because the solar system is shaped like a flat disk, with the planets orbiting around the same flat area in space.
This means that from time to time they come into alignment along this flat line, with varying numbers of planets appearing in a different order.
Jake Foster, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, explained the best way to look at the map.
‘If you’re facing the western horizon, you should be able to see with your naked eye – so without any specialized equipment – three planets in a neat line across the sky, along with the moon,’ he said. Sky News.
First look: Astronomer Royal Scotland, Catherine Heimans, tweeted about the planetary display last night
Best chance: Experts say escaping city life will provide the best chance for clearer views because urban areas are more affected by light pollution (stock photo)
“If you have a telescope or a pair of binoculars, maybe even five planets and the moon.”
Astronomer Royal Scotland, Katherine Heimans, tweeted about our first glimpse of the planetary display last night.
“Great to see so many #PlanetaryParade fans at Portobello Beach tonight,” she wrote.
‘Brilliant clear skies – Venus and Mars looking so bright – a pity we’re so far to the north, Jupiter and Mercury mainly setting with the sun. #DoLookUp! “
Skywatchers don’t have to worry if they miss a scene A number of other planetary alignments will also take place this year.
In less than a month, Mercury, Uranus, Venus and Mars are expected to align again in a 35-degree sector of the sky.
Then on April 24, the 40-degree sector will take place with Mars, Venus, Uranus, and Mercury all coming together.
Last year, stargazers In the Northern Hemisphere, had the amazing opportunity to gaze at Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn simultaneously.
Does the planetary alignment affect the Earth?
The planets in our solar system never line up in one straight line exactly as they appear in the movies.
If you look at a two-dimensional chart of the planets and their orbits on a piece of paper, you might be led to believe that all the planets will eventually orbit the same line.
In fact, not all planets rotate perfectly in the same plane. Instead, they oscillate around different orbits in three-dimensional space. Because of this, they will never be fully compatible.
The alignment of the planets depends on your point of view. If three planets are in the same region of the sky from the Earth’s point of view, they are not necessarily in the same region of the sky from the Sun’s point of view.
So the alignment is an artifact of a point of view rather than something fundamental about the planets themselves.
Even if the planets all lined up in a perfectly straight line, they would have minimal effects on Earth.
Fiction and pseudoscience authors like to claim that the alignment of the planets means that all of the planets’ gravitational fields combine to make something massive that is incompatible with life on Earth.
In fact, the gravity of the planets on Earth is too weak to have much effect on life on Earth.
There are only two bodies in the solar system that have enough gravity to significantly affect Earth: the Moon and the Sun.
The sun’s gravity is strong because the sun is so massive. The moon’s gravitational influence on Earth is strong because the moon is so close.
The sun’s gravity causes the Earth’s annual orbit and thus, together with the Earth’s tilt, causes the seasons.
The Moon’s gravity is primarily responsible for the daily ocean tides. The close alignment of the Sun and Moon has an effect on the Earth, because their gravitational fields are so strong.
This partial alignment occurs at every full moon and new moon, and leads to extra strong tsunamis called ‘spring tides’.
The word “spring” here refers to the fact that the water seems to jump up the beach with extra high tides every two weeks – and not because they only happen in the spring.
Source: Dr. Christopher S. Baird/West Texas A&M University