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Glasgow Live
Glasgow Live
Nina Massey

Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will line up in the sky - here's what time to see it

Four of Earth's neighbours are going to line up in the sky when a special phenomenon begins this week - and it could be visible without the need for a telescope.

Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are aligning in what is known as a 'planet parade', with experts predicting that stargazers could be treated to the sight until early May.

The Moon will join the celestial line-up this weekend, with a fifth planet – Mercury – becoming visible from next week, Hull Live reports.

Experts say the best viewing window is between around 5am and 6am (BST) over the coming days. This will be just after the planets rise above the horizon, but shortly before the Sun follows after them.

Despite appearing from Earth to be lined up, the planets will not actually be in a row in space.

Jake Foster, an astronomy education officer at Royal Museums Greenwich, said: “To view this event, all you require is a clear eastern horizon. No specialist viewing equipment is necessary. These types of alignments in our skies, sometimes known as planet parades, only occur from our perspective here on Earth.

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“The planets themselves are not physically aligned in space during these events, meaning that the perceived alignment is unique to our perspective as observers on the Earth. These events tend to happen once every few years, the last one taking place in 2020.

“This year, we are particularly lucky. We will witness an alignment of five planets visible to the unaided eye on June 24, with Mercury joining the other four visible planets as an added bonus.”

However, Dr Robert Massey, deputy executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society, said spotting Mars and Saturn in this line-up may be difficult. He said: “This is a nice conjunction, as the brightest naked eye planets are visible together in a line, with Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn from east to west.

“The event is best viewed at dawn, but not too late as the brightening sky will wash out Mars and Saturn in particular. From the UK and similar latitudes, and further north, this will be hard to see as the planets are very low down at sunrise and the sky will be very bright by then.

“I’m not confident that Mars and Saturn will be visible at all from here, at least to the naked eye. You can try to spot the planets with binoculars (use an online star chart to work out where to look) but you must only do that before sunrise as looking at the Sun with binoculars or a telescope can cause serious damage to your eyes – as can looking at the Sun with your eyes alone.”

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