After sunset, see the 5 planets in the sky or via video

This chart shows a westward view after sunset on March 30, 2023. Jupiter is getting harder to see, and the Sun is falling into the setting light. But Mercury will rise in the west — every evening — and rise throughout early April. Note that Uranus is close to Venus, but not shown. We show Uranus in the chart below. By way of illustration stellarium.org. Used with permission.

How to see 5 planets

This week (late March 2023), you can see five planets lined up in our evening sky: Venus and Uranus, Jupiter and Mercury and Mars. Gianluca Massi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome, Italy, showed them through a telescope earlier today (March 29). To enjoy his presentation, watch the video below. In addition, you can see them in the sky, perhaps, if your sky conditions are very good, and you have a sharp eye.

As soon as the sun sets, the planets are positioned in a gentle arc across the evening sky, following the sun’s path across our sky. Likewise, the Moon and the planets also follow the eclipse.

How can we see the planets? Go out around sunset and look west. Among them you can easily spot the bright planet Venus.

Then use binoculars to scan the planet Uranus next to Venus.

Then aim your binoculars low in the sky, near the point where the sun is setting. That is where you will find Jupiter and Mercury.

Then look high in the sky — still see the eclipse or the path of the Sun — to Mars.

Virtual telescope Visited all 5 planets after sunset on March 28, 2023.

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Guide to Planetary Viewing

Venus and Uranus. Of these five planets, Venus is the brightest and Uranus is the dim. These two are close together in the sky. Venus is easily visible to the eye. It is the first “star” (actually, planet) to come into view. Uranus shines at +5.8 magnitudes. This is theoretically obvious. But, in practice, you need a dark sky and a telescope to find it. It was roughly 1.5 degrees or three moon widths from Venus earlier this week. Uranus will be closest to Venus on Thursday, March 30.

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Thursday and Wednesday. Jupiter is the 2nd brightest planet. But it is now near sunset and visible only in bright twilight. Bright twilight skies make Jupiter more difficult to find. But Jupiter is still visible to the naked eye very close to sunset. And Wednesday? It is fainter than Jupiter (though still brighter than most stars). But it is near sunset. Shortly after sunset, start looking for the pair on the western horizon. You need clear skies and an unobstructed western view to catch them. A telescope should help. They disappear only 30 minutes after sunset. So, when the sun sets, the clock chimes.

tuesday, now the 5th planet in the evening sky, was easy to spot earlier this week because it’s not far from the Moon in our sky’s dome. A bright red light near the moon on Tuesday evening, March 28, 2023. Mars is bright. It is brighter than most stars. And it is clearly red. Even after the sun goes away, you can still spot Mars by its color and by the fact that it doesn’t shine like stars.

Some inventor charts

March 30, Venus and Uranus through binoculars.  Venus at upper right, large and bright.
On the evening of March 30, 2023, bright Venus transits dim Uranus. In other words, these 2 worlds are very close on March 30. Assuming you have a dark sky, standard telescopes can easily show Uranus next to Venus. Illustration by John Jardine Gauss/EarthSky.
5 Planets: Astrology Chart for March 31 showing Nakshatras.  Planets and Moon align at sunset.
This chart shows the view looking west after sunset on March 31, 2023. Can you catch Jupiter in the sunset light? Every evening, Mercury becomes superlative in early April. Note that Uranus is close to Venus, but not shown. By way of illustration stellarium.org. Used with permission.
5 Planets: Astrology chart for March 29 showing stars.  The planets and the moon align at night.
Want to see 5 planets tonight? Be ready for a challenge. This chart shows the view looking west after sunset on March 29, 2023. As the days pass, it becomes harder and harder for Jupiter to fall into the setting sun. But Mercury will rise in the west — every evening — and rise throughout early April. Note that Uranus is close to Venus, but not shown. By way of illustration stellarium.org. Used with permission.
Two nearly half-light moons, 1 to the right near the Red Spot (Mars) and the other to the left near the stars named Castor and Pollux.
Here is a chart showing both March 28 and March 29. See how the Moon moves with Mars? Check out the twin stars Castor and Pollux in Gemini the Twins. Illustration by John Jardine Gauss/EarthSky.

Visit stellarium.org for accurate views from your location.

Bottom line: You have a chance to see five planets tonight and throughout this week. Here are illustrations and information, including where to look in the video.

For more celestial events, visit EarthSky’s Night Sky Guide.

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