European Southern Observatory finds new planet
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A planetary alignment will follow the Lyrid meteor shower this weekend, dotting the sky with bright lights for a second day. The Lyrids dazzle stargazers annually between April 16 and 25 around the Lyra constellation, giving people a glimpse of shooting stars in early spring. With barely a day’s rest, amateur astronomers can catch an uncommon planetary display by Sunday.
How to watch Mars, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn align with the Moon
Astronomers have predicted that four planets will continue to treat stargazers this Sunday.
In an uncommon – but not quite rare – occurrence, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus will align with the Moon.
The alignment follows hot on the heels of the Lyrids’ peak this Sunday, April 24.
Those hoping to view the phenomenon will have to rise in the early hours, as the window for the alignment starts around 5am BST.
At this point, the planets will have risen just above the horizon and loom there bright in the predawn sky.
Amateurs taking part for the first time may need to squint to see the planetary parade.
While visible to the naked eye, the planets will take on the appearance of stars in a rapidly brightening early morning sky.
Observers must look towards the southeast and use the Moon as a starting point.
The Earth’s natural satellite should have four bright dots lined up to its left.
The planets won’t perfectly line up, as Saturn will loom slightly above the Moon, while Marts, Venus and Jupiter will appear lower.
While they may look like them from a distance, planets behave differently from stars and don’t twinkle.
Stargazers will have roughly an hour to watch before the planets are dimmed by sunrise around 6am.
Not everyone will have a chance to watch, as weather forecasts suggest much of the country will see a cloudy Sunday morning.
The last time planets aligned in this fashion was two years ago, in 2020.
And before then, astronomers spotted alignments in 2016 and 2005, with the former event seeing a parade of five with Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury appearing together.
Those who miss the April 24 event won’t have to wait long for another alignment, as there is one coming at the end of April.
Between April 27 and April 30, Venus and Jupiter will align with a waning crescent Moon.
They will appear side-by-side as a “double planet” separated by 0.2 degrees in the night’s sky.
Their position will bring them close to the Pisces constellation and host above the eastern horizon before sunrise.
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