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23 March, 2004

Rare event for armchair astronomers

Between 22 and 31 March, five planets will be visible to the naked eye just after dusk; an opportunity which won't be so easily repeated until 2036.

Viewing from the northern hemisphere:
Mercury will be visible above the setting sun until 45 mins after sunset when it will drop below the horizon.
Venus will be higher in the sky and the brightest object in view.
Mars, though dimmer than last summer, will be high in the southwestern sky.
Saturn will be nearly overhead at dusk, slightly to the south.  Because of this position in the sky, there is less atmospheric distortion than usual, so views with a telescope will be particularly good, showing the rings and major moons.
Jupiter will also be particularly bright, rising in the east at sunset.
For a sixth planet: look down.

Further detail from the BBC (unlikely to be permanently archived).

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