(KARK) — Calling all astronomy enthusiasts! The end of March is going to be a great time to planet gaze. Five planets will be visible on March 28th: Venus, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and Uranus.
Venus will be one of the easier ones to see. It will be the biggest planet in the sky. Look to the west to see Venus after sunset.
Mars will also be easier to identify. It will appear red and bright, high in the southwest sky.
Jupiter, the second brightest planet (next to Venus), won’t be as easy to spot. Jupiter was high in the sky earlier this month but has been slowly descending. To view Jupiter, you’ll need to have a clear and obstruction-free view of the western horizon. Mercury will also be close to Jupiter. It is set to make its pass of Jupiter on March 27.
Local Astronomer Jay Reynolds said that March and April are the best time of year to easily see Mercury.
Uranus might be the most difficult to identify without a telescope. It will appear faint, looking very similar to a star.
“(Uranus) is too dim and the Sun is too bright in the Western sky to easily be seen. If you have good telescope skills, then you have a crack at seeing it but, the view is going to look poor,” Reynolds said.
It’s all in how the Western sky is tilted nearly straight up and down in the springtime that we can best see mercury. Even when you see it, it’s not impressive. The only reason to look is so that you can say I’ve seen Mercury.
Visible planet timeline provided by Reynolds:
• March 22: will be an awesome day to see the 2.2% crescent right next to the planet Jupiter.”Most people have never seen such a thin crescent moon like this. It’s easy to spot because it’s next to the fairly bright planet Jupiter but very low in the Western sky!”
• March 23: A slender crescent moon will be just below the planet Venus
• March 24: A slender crescent moon is now above Venus, however, directly next to the planet Uranus. “If you have a telescope this is the day to have a look and photograph the super slender Crescent Moon and Venus together in one frame! It’s worth the effort!” Reynolds said.
• March 27: Mercury and Jupiter are exceptionally low in the Western sky, however, Mercury will be directly next to brighter Jupiter.
• March 30: Venus and dim planet Uranus will be next to each other in a single frame. “Could be good photography!” Jay said.
• March 31: Planet Mercury will be best seen for the next 10 days, as Jupiter disappears in the glare of the Sun.
Reynolds said 7 p.m. each day will be the best time to catch these planets in the sky.