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Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Venus form a rare alignment in the sky this month

This week, the pre-dawn hours are hosting a planetary discovery party for skywatchers. Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn will be visible, forming a row in a “planetary procession.”

Experts say that the best viewing window for this special event is between five and six in the morning during the coming days, after the planets rise above the horizon, but before the sun follows them directly.

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In the Southern Hemisphere, the planets will be visible at the same time of the month, but to the east and at a steeper angle.

The moon will join the four planets in its elegant line in the last week of April, and appears south, just to the right of Saturn.

The public would not need a telescope to view the planets, which are best seen in cloudless skies.

In a starry sky, the planets are recognizable by their apparent lack of flicker. Jupiter will be the lowest and farthest to the left, followed by Venus, Mars and Saturn drawing an invisible line moving up and to the right.

The last time Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Venus lined up like this was in 2020, and before that in 2016 and 2005.

Jake Foster, astronomy education officer at Royal Museums Greenwich, told the Daily Mail that the alignment will be visible until early May.

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All the audience has to do is “face east before sunrise” and look for four bright spots of light. low in sight.

“The four planets will be visible in the early morning, just before sunrise, which will be before 6 a.m. GMT on April 20,” Foster said.

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The hard part is catching the planets in the relatively short amount of time between their height above the horizon and the time the sun follows.

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“This allows us a time window between 5 and 6 a.m. GMT on most mornings from April 20 onwards to see the planets in a neat line across the sky,” Foster said.

He added that distinguishing the planets from each other with the naked eye is relatively easy. Noticeably brightest of the four planets will be Venus, shining bright white light. Jupiter will be the second brightest planet Jupiter, and it’s also bright white. It is clear that Saturn will be weaker than the other three, given its distance from the Sun.

Mars will have the most distinct difference from the others because of its colour, appearing as a bright orange point of light to the naked eye.

The group of quadrilaterals will appear each morning for the remainder of the month as the moon shrinks into a crescent.

Venus and Jupiter will continue to approach each other until they appear almost side by side in the sky on April 30. In fact, it’s their closest appearance since 2016 and will probably be easier to see this time due to the more favorable positioning in relation to the morning sun.

Source: Daily Mail