How To Watch 5 Planets Align On Tuesday Night

(Photo by DICKY BISINGLASI/AFP via Getty Images)

Kate Hirzel Contributor
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Tuesday night will be the best day to see five planets aligning without scientific equipment.

Twenty to 30 minutes after sunset on Tuesday evening, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus will be the most visible to the naked eye. If missed Tuesday, planet enthusiasts will still be able to see the planets over the next few weeks, Cameron Hummels, a computational astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology, told CNN. Hummels told CNN to head to a place with a good view of the western horizon.

The view can be seen from anywhere on Earth. “That’s the beauty of these planetary alignments. It doesn’t take much,” NASA astronomer Bill Cooke told AP News.

Venus is the easiest planet to spot, and Jupiter and Mars will be bright as well. Cooke recommends a pair of binoculars to see Mercury and Uranus. The planets will look “kind of like pearls on a necklace,” Hummels told CNN. (RELATED: Astronomers Discover 12 More Moons Orbiting Jupiter)

Alignments appear every few years or so. There will be another five-planet lineup with slightly different alterations in June. “This kind of alignment happens when the planets’ orbits line them up on one side of the sun from Earth’s perspective,” Cooke told AP News.

On June 17 Mercury, Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn are expected to align, followed by Mercury, Venus, and Mars on July 26, according to Starwalk. Mercury, Mars and rising Saturn will align on August 24 at sunset.

Hummels tells CNN not to assign significance to planetary alignment. “It’s kind of like when your car’s odometer shows a bunch of numbers — like it reaches 44,444,” he said. “It’s cool and unusual. It just doesn’t really mean anything.”