Four Planets Visible in the Night Sky to Stargazers

If you are interested in planetary astronomy, there are currently four planets visible to the naked eye.

Even though the full Moon is drowning out many of the stars, the planets are still clearly visible.

Whilst it isn’t unusual to see planets in the night sky – Jupiter in particular has been noticeable for some time – to see four at once is more uncommon, especially as both Venus and Jupiter are so close to each other visibly in the sky.

Mercury

Making one of its rare appearances to the unequipped observer – with its’ orbit being so close to the Sun, it is usually hidden behind the Sun itself or not visible without special equipment in front of it – although it is only visible briefly, will disappear quickly after sunset and, depending on conditions, may not be seen at all. Look to the western sky where the Sun is setting, although do not look directly at the Sun, as that can be dangerous.

Venus

Outshining everything in the sky except the Moon, the planet Venus is making its appearance as the Evening Star, and is bright enough to be visible before dark. Again, this can be seen by looking west where the Sun is setting. Venus is clearly visible, and can be seen for hours into the night.

Jupiter

Close to Venus is the gas giant, Jupiter. Although not as bright as Venus, it is still very bright and visible. Its proximity to Venus in the sky – they are the two brightest ‘stars’ in that area, and comparatively close to each other – makes it fairly easy to find.

Mars

Just a few days ago, Mars reached its closest approach to the Earth in over two years, about 63 million miles away. The Red Planet, Mars, is rising in the eastern sky a few hours after sunset, so, after finding Venus and Jupiter, turn around 180 degrees and look east. Mars is clearly visible as a bright red ‘star’ after it rises; it is brighter than any of the red stars, such as Betelgeuse.