Perfect Planet Peering Possibilities at Sunset Tuesday!

Clear Skies

The skies should stay clear tonight and so we should get a great look at the planetary alignment!

Here’s a little bit of detail of what you’ll see!

On Tuesday, March 28, 2023, a rare cosmic event is set to light up the night sky, with five planets – Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus, and Mars – perfectly aligning at the same time, along with the Moon and a beautiful star cluster known as Messier 35 (M35). This will be the first planetary alignment since June 2022, when Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were seen together in a unique event that had not occurred in two decades.

Look West just after Sunset

The one difficulty with tonight’s alignment will be that some planets, Jupiter and Mercury, will follow the sun below the horizon within about an hour of sunset.

So if you’re looking west from the City of Port Alberni, your view of those two planets might be blocked by the mountain ridges quite quickly. If you are up on a ridge, or on the ocean’s edge with a clear view of the horizon, you’ll be better off. You should be able to see Venus immediately after sunset and you’ll be able to get your bearings from there.

Here is a good description of each planetary, and stellar, object you’ll be able to see “lined up”.

According to the Almanac, Sunset is at 7:44PM local time tonight. Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus, Mars and the first quarter Moon!

Jupiter and Mercury will appear near the horizon, at a magnitude of -1.2 and -1.3, respectively, and will be located in the constellation Pisces, separated by approximately one degree. Higher up in the sky, Venus will shine brightly from the constellation Aries, with a magnitude of -4.0. While these three planets will be easily visible with the naked eye, binoculars might be necessary to spot Uranus, located at about 2° from Venus and shining with a magnitude of 5.8. Finally, Mars will join the parade higher in the sky, close to the first quarter Moon in the constellation Gemini, at a magnitude of 0.9.

Good Weather until Friday!

It should stay dry through the rest of the week. A system moves in on Friday afternoon with some potential for rain. No, I don’t think it will snow, contrary to the current EC forecast, but we might see sleet and slush on the Hump and Sutton Pass so beware of that if you are driving.

Showers will linger through the weekend but won’t amount to very much. It should feel like Spring again by Monday!

Happy Stargazing!

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