FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The western sky will feature a five-planet alignment tonight in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley, with optimal viewing conditions expected throughout the entire area.

How To See The Alignment

After sunset, Jupiter and Mercury will be located near the horizon. These two planets will be in exact alignment with Venus, Uranus and Mars, which can be found by drawing a line from the horizon to the moon. When viewing this evening, you will be able to see Venus, Mars and Jupiter with the naked eye, however a pair of binoculars or a telescope will be required to see Uranus and Mercury. Sunset tonight is at 7:35 P.M., and you will only have around 30 minutes before Jupiter and Mercury fall below the horizon! While the planets will still be able to be seen throughout the week, tonight will provide the clearest view of this particular planetary alignment.

Viewing Conditions Tonight

Picture perfect viewing conditions are expected tonight in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley, with clear skies and low humidity. This will keep haze from obstructing any views over the horizon where Jupiter and Mercury are, especially around sunset. Keep the jacket close by as well, with temperatures expected to fall into the upper 40s in most locations around sunset. Make sure you find an area with little light pollution to avoid any obstructed views.

Fun Facts On Planetary Alignments

Planetary alignments, by themselves, are not rare. In fact, there was actually a five-planet alignment last Summer that involved Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and all of those planets were viewable with the naked eye! This calendar year will also feature yet another five-planet alignment, this time involving Mercury, Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn. Other notable alignments will occur on April 11th and August 24th, though these will be smaller four-planet alignments. Case in point, there are plentiful opportunities to see planetary alignments throughout the calendar year, with five-planet or more alignments being quite rare!