By Tanuj Dhar
Guwahati, Mar 28 (IANS): Though not very uncommon, an interesting phenomenon called "planetary alignment" will enthral the sky gazers tonight with five planets forming an arc.
Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Mars would appear in the night sky, most of them will be visible through the naked eye. While the eastern and northeast India will enjoy a better view, those in the north, west and south may find it difficult to spot all the five planets.
Debiprosad Duari, former director of the M.P. Birla Planetarium in Kolkata, told IANS, "Our understanding of the solar system tells us that the planets revolve around the Sun almost in the same plane. For this reason, sometimes they take the form of an arc or even a straight line in the sky. This is going to happen on Tuesday."
Though the planets will be visible in the form of an arc to naked eyes, binoculars and small telescopes can provide a better view.
After the Sun sets, Jupiter and Mercury would set within a short interval in the evening sky.
"Since the Sun sets early in the east and northeast sky in India, people from these locations can get a clear view of Jupiter and Mercury. But due to the Sun's high glare, sky watchers from other parts of the country may find it difficult to spot these two planets on the western horizon, however, a keen observation might help," Dr Duari said.
The sunset in Kolkata will occur today at 5.50 p.m, while in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, the sun will disappear from the sky at 6.36 p.m, 6.51 p.m, and 6.31 p.m, respectively.
In the evening sky, there will be a very bright object - Venus. With the help of small telescopes, towards the northern direction from Venus, the planet Uranus can also be spotted.
Both Venus and Uranus will be up in the sky for quite a long time.
"Venus will set at least two hours after the sunset," Duari informed.
Mars will be there in the night sky till midnight. Just beside Mars, one can also see the Moon tonight.
According to Duari, the last time this event happened was on June 24, 2022. On September 8, 2024, the "planetary alignment" will again occur.
He said, "The 'planetary alignment' is not a rare phenomenon. But it is a lovable event and reminds us about our existence in the cosmos."