This is not a true planetary alignment where they will appear in a straight line, but NASA scientist Bill Cooke told CBS News that the planets will be visible on March 28 and that the “alignment: will look “very pretty.”
How to watch the 5 planets
While the five planets should technically be visible along with the waxing crescent moon in most parts of the world, you will not be able to see them unless you are in a location with an unobstructed view of the horizon.
According to Rick Feinberg, senior contributing editor at Sky & Telescope magazine, Venus and Mars should be easy to spot. Venus is the brightest planet in the solar system and will be high in the sky, and Mars will shine brightly next to the waxing Moon. But on the other hand, Uranus, which will appear near Venus, will appear faint and will only be visible next.
“Wait until the sun has set and then go out and look low in that bright part of the sky where the sun has just set with binoculars, and you should see Jupiter next to fainter Mercury,” Fienberg told NPR.
In order to get the best view of this rare celestial event, go to a location with as little light pollution as possible and a clear horizon with no obstructions. Once there, you should be able to spot most planets, apart from Jupiter and Mercury, without the use of binoculars.
Is this a rare event?
While tonight is not an everyday event, it is not truly a five-planet alignment since the planets will not appear as if they form a single straight line.
If you were looking for an actual alignment of five planets, that time has passed. A true 5 planet alignment happened in June last year when Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn stretched across the sky from low in the east to higher in the south in the order of their distance from the Sun.
Even discounting the rare coincidence where they appeared in that particular order, the planetary alignment in June was the first one in nearly eighteen years, with the last time being on December 2004. Such an event is not expected to happen again until 2040, according to NPR.