It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s four planets in a straight line! (LISTEN)

by | Apr 29, 2022 | News, Outdoors, Science / Technology, Show Me Today

The expression “When the stars align” refers to an unexpected event happening. If you look up at the sky overnight this weekend, you might see four planets align – Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.

University of Missouri astronomer, Dr. Haojing Yan, said the best time to see the show is right before dawn this weekend – away from the city lights.

Dr. Haojing Yan (Photo courtesy of University of Missouri)

“This is quite something to look at,” he said. “This kind of thing is not very often, but it is not rare either. They are going to line up from low to high, so you will be able to see very close to a straight line.”

Yan said there are two reasons this phenomenon is happening.

“Planets are orbiting around the sun. We have known this for a long, long time now. The second thing is their orbital planes are close to each other,” he said. “Their orbital periods, their distances are different. After some time, they will just come to the right place for us to see them lining up in the sky.”

Yan said you don’t need a telescope, binoculars or any other special tools.

“You just go out with your naked eyes,” he said. “This is four planets. They are quite bright in the sky.”

If the skies are cloudy, Yan says we won’t be able to see the sky show. However, if the southern and southeast skies are clear, then you are in luck.

To hear the Show Me Today interview with Dr. Yan, click below (5:53).

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