Grab your binoculars!
The planets are aligning. Literally. Right now.
And if you happen to glance at roughly where the Sun has just set on the horizon over the next few nights, you should be able to witness five planets — Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus, and Mars — all lined up together, right near the Moon.
According to the Associate Press, a telescope isn't necessary, but binoculars certainly won't hurt as Mercury and Uranus are likely to be a bit dimmer than their much brighter brethren — Mercury is so close to the Sun that its own glow is easily obscured, and Uranus, conversely, is just very far away from our home planet.
"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," Rick Fienberg, senior contributing editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, told NPR, "and you should see brighter Jupiter next to fainter Mercury."
Though tonight will be the best night for viewing, the planets will be visible for the next few days. And excitingly, as long as you have clear skies, they should be visible from anywhere on Earth.
"That's the beauty of these planetary alignments," NASA astronomer Bill Cooke told the AP. "It doesn't take much."
If you do happen to miss the event, it's not the end of the world. Alignments aren't exactly a rare occurrence; per Axios, the last five-planet alignment happened back in June 2022, and mini-alignments happen every few months.
Nonetheless, it's an astrological event worth catching in person.
"I want people to want to go outside and look up. I want people to be excited about looking up at the stars and planets," Jackie Faherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, told NPR. "Right now what's happening is something that you might not realize does happen quite a bit, which is the planets are up a lot. This is not a particularly rare event, but it is an event that you should celebrate and you should want to go outside and look at."
"The nighttime sky is the original Netflix," she added. "It's the original entertainment, and people lost that, because they're disconnected from looking up, and they're very connected to looking down at their phone or their tablet or their computer or whatever. Because things [can be] bright in the sky, when you accidentally look up, they will look striking to you."
READ MORE: It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a pretty neat planetary viewing! [NPR]
More on stargazing: Experts Say Annoying New Satellite Might Be Brighter than Any Star
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