FOUR planets will be visible in the night sky during a rare quadruple alignment this week.
Earth neighbours Mars and Venus, as well as gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, will all appear in a neat line throughout the rest of April.
Four planets will align in the night sky this week[/caption]
The alignment will be visible to the naked eye from around April 17 and was most easily spotted on April 20, Live Science reports.
However, the planetary parade will be bright in the night sky for several days after their peak.
They will be at their brightest about half an hour before sunrise.
In the U.S., the planets will appear just above the horizon in the east. In the U.K., they will be visible in the east-southeast.
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You should be able to spot the alignment with the naked eye, making this a great celestial showcase to bring the kids along to.
Jupiter will appear the furthest West and the closest to the horizon. followed by Venus, Mars and Saturn.
Your best bet for sighting them is to head out on a clear morning and pick an elevated spot with as little light pollution as possible.
By late next week, a fifth celestial body will join the party.
The Moon is set to finish off the alignment on April 23 when it appears alongside the celestial congregation to the east.
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Planetary alignments don’t happen all that often, particularly when as many as four at once are involved.
That said, this month’s get together is merely the appetizer to an even more spectacular alignment that’s coming this summer.
On June 24, all of the other planets of the Solar System – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus – will join together in the sky.
You’ll need a telescope or binoculars to see the furthest planets, Neptune and Uranus.
And the line will stretch a long distance across the night sky, making it difficult to photograph.
Alignments of all of the planets (bar Earth) are very rare. This will be only the third time it has happened since 2005.
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“We don’t always get this opportunity,” astronomy educator Michelle Nichols from Chicago’s Adler Planetarium told Live Science.
“Sometimes, it’s one or two in the sky; a lot of times, it’s none.”
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