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Here’s When You Can See Tonight’s Planetary Alignment Over Phoenix

There's a "planetary parade" happening on Tuesday night.
There's a "planetary parade" happening on Tuesday night. Thirdman/Pexels
Did you miss the rare sighting of the aurora borealis over Arizona recently? Grab your binoculars, skywatchers, because there’s another fantastic cosmic spectacle happening in the evening skies on Tuesday, March 28.

Five planets — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus — will be aligned into an arc near the moon just after sunset tonight, creating a stunning sight that astronomers say isn’t to be missed.

The alignment is known as a “planetary parade,” and it's something that happens every few years or so when the orbits of various planets line up perfectly on one side of the sun from Earth’s perspective.

The good news is that most of the planets during tonight’s alignment can easily be seen with the naked eye.

When and Where to See the Planetary Alignment

According to the astronomers at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, the best time to see the alignment is just after sunset on Tuesday, which will occur at approximately 6:46 p.m. in Arizona.

The planets will be visible in the western sky, stretching in a loose line from just above the horizon to about halfway up the sky. The arrangement can be seen just underneath the crescent moon.

As we mentioned, most of the planets will be visible with the naked eye — including Venus, Mars, and Jupiter — thanks to the fact they typically shine brightly in the night sky. You might need a pair of binoculars or a telescope, though, to see either Mercury or Uranus (no jokes please).
The planetary alignment will be visible from pretty much anywhere there's an unobstructed view of the western sky, even if you're in the middle of the city. That being said, viewing conditions will be better the farther away you get from light sources of light pollution.

The show won’t last long, however, as Jupiter and Mercury set fairly early in the evening and will dip beneath the horizon less than an hour after sunset.

In other words, don’t be late if you'd like to catch every planet in the parade. 
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.

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