Starting this week, you can watch five planets in the evening sky as the crescent moon rises higher each night.
From Thursday, March 23 through Thursday, March 30, it will be possible to see Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus, and Mars shortly after sunset as the crescent moon appears to be making a tour of five planets.
Related: What is the phase of the moon today?
While Venus and Mars are very easy to see, you may need to use binoculars or a telescope to find bright Mercury and faint Jupiter, and certainly to see Uranus, which is almost always out of view with the naked eye. You’ll also need a low view of the western horizon, though light pollution doesn’t make much difference to spotting planets and gazing at the moon.
Planetary parade: what will happen
Over the course of the eight nights, Mercury and Jupiter will swap positions, with the former rising above the latter. But to see Switcheroo, you need to be outside, looking low at the western horizon just after sunset. Meanwhile, the Moon will grow from 7% to 68% lit over the course of the week, rising higher each night to visit a different planet.
Throughout the week, Uranus will be above Venus in the west, and beyond it, Mars will light up very high in the sky.
Thursday, March 23: Crescent Moon and Venus
On March 23, the view of a slender, 7%-illuminated crescent moon appearing on the cup of Venus will be stunning as it hangs below bright Venus and above Jupiter in the western sky. Mercury will be below Jupiter but will be lost in the sun’s glare. Point some binoculars at the Moon, and you’ll see Earth’s brightness, which is sunlight reflecting off the Earth and returning to the Moon’s surface, According to NASA (Opens in a new tab).
Friday, March 24: Crescent and Uranus
On March 24, a 13% illuminated crescent moon will be above Venus and very close to Uranus. Use binoculars to look for the Earth’s luminosity on the Moon; Then run to the left to peek at the seventh planet. Jupiter will have sunk a bit, and Mercury has risen, though not enough to be easily visible.
Saturday, March 25: Crescent Moon and Pleiades
On March 25, the moon will be 21% illuminated, about a third of the distance from Venus to Mars. Place some binoculars just above the moon’s northeast limb, and you’ll see many bright stars of the Pleiades open cluster.
On Saturday, you can also watch live a skyscraper-sized asteroid as it approaches between the Moon and Earth in a rare, very close flyby.
Sunday, March 26: Moon and Mars
Now 30% illuminated, the Moon will have approached Mars, while Mercury and Jupiter will be very close to each other on the western horizon.
Monday, March 27: Jupiter and Mercury conjunction
Tonight, we see a conjunction between the smallest and largest planets in the solar system, when Mercury and Jupiter appear to be close to about one degree, and it will be visible to the naked eye immediately after sunset, According to Starwalk (Opens in a new tab). Meanwhile, the Moon will shine 39% brighter, close to Mars.
Tuesday, March 28: Mercury rising
As a half-lit moon hangs out from Mars, Mercury will rise. On March 28, it will be above Jupiter and more easily visible to the naked eye.
Wednesday, March 29: Jupiter sank
When Mercury rises higher and is easier to see, Jupiter will be lost in the sun’s glare and difficult to see. Venus has been rising all week, and now it is approaching Uranus.
Thursday, March 30: Venus and Uranus conjunction
With Mercury and Jupiter still appearing in opposite directions, bright Venus will shine just one degree from Uranus in this week’s second planetary conjunction. However, to see blue-green Uranus, you’ll need to use binoculars or a telescope.
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