On Mondays and Tuesdays (April 4-5) you can see three worlds practically hugging each other in the night sky if you get up a little early.
NASA notes that Mars and Saturn were only a few fingers apart on Friday (April 1), but will be even closer on Monday.
“By the 4th, Saturn and Mars will be separated by less than the width of the full moon. Saturn then moves on, increasing its distance from Mars every day,” the agency said in a statement. The best time to catch the show is around 5:50 a.m. EDT in New York City, which is about 45 minutes before sunrise.
If you’re looking for binoculars or a telescope to see planets in the night sky, check out our guides best binoculars and best telescopes. If you need photography gear, consider ours The best cameras for astrophotography and The best lenses for astrophotography to prepare for the next planet sight.
Do you see the planets?
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You can also see the planets move a bit between Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday, Saturn and Mars will reach their closest approach, separated by just half a degree. (Mars glows red, beneath white-yellow Saturn.)
Venus will also be visible, NASA said, to the lower left of Saturn and Mars. “Venus will last rise over the east-southeast horizon at 4:54 a.m. EDT and will be about 10 degrees above the horizon when dawn begins about an hour later at 5:48 a.m.,” the agency said.
While the star cluster is visible to the naked eye, that depends by how much light pollution disturbs the view. “You may need binoculars to really appreciate this star cluster,” NASA said.
Then keep an eye out for the bright star on Tuesday Aldebaran, about seven degrees lower left of the Moon. The star is the porthole of Taurus, the Taurus constellation. (The names may vary by culture; here we refer to the official designations of the International Astronomical Union.)
Planetary and lunar alignments are common because all of these worlds orbit roughly in the same plane of the solar system known as the ecliptic. Even if you don’t quite get the alignment of the worlds, the three planets will still be bright for the days to come, giving you great views.
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