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Look Up Tonight at the Planetary Parade

Fingers crossed for clear skies tonight as Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Mars will all align with the moon across the night sky tonight, as pretty much the whole solar system puts on a show for stargazers everywhere.


The spectacle was visible after sunset last night, but this evening will serve as the best opportunity to see the the show. Venus will be the easiest planet to see because it is the brightest object in the night sky apart from the moon, while astronomers say Jupiter and Mars will also be ‘easily visible with the naked eye’, even from a bright city. However, a telescope is likely to be needed to catch a glimpse of Mercury and Uranus.

A planetary parade takes place when a number of worlds are located in the same constellation. While it is not unusual to see two or three planets in the sky, an alignment of five is less common. 

Here’s some tips to get the best view tonight:

1) Escape city life — stay away from parking lots, sports complexes and street lights. We’re thinking the beach will be best, maybe Park East?

2) Observe in the early evening right at sunset, Mercury and Jupiter will quickly disappear over the horizon.

3) Use a stargazing app to direct your gaze to the right area of the sky

4) Face towards the western horizon where you should be able to see three planets in a neat line across the sky along with the moon.

5) Bring a telescope if you have one! Mercury and Uranus will be difficult to see with the naked eye.

Happy stargazing Pensacola! Stuck at home, but want to watch? Live viewing on the EarthSky website.