National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
News & Events
Planet Party
Planet Party
4 Apr 2002
(Source: Indiana University)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - April will present a rare opportunity for even casual observers to easily see several bright planets in the western sky after sunset.

This will be the best gathering in nearly two decades for the five planets visible with the unaided eye: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The tightest grouping and the best pairings and clusters will happen in May and early June, but during April, viewers can watch each night as the planets assemble.

Every April evening at dusk, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Venus will be visible in that order from upper left (south) to lower right (west). Mercury will appear at the bottom of the line near the west-northwestern horizon during the second half of the month. Jupiter will be very high in the west at the upper end of the line.

Yellow Saturn will be accompanied by the bright orange star Aldebaran to its lower left (south). To the right (north) of Mars will be the Pleiades star cluster. Brilliant white Venus will be by far the brightest of the group, and orange Mars will be the faintest.

Anyone with a clear view of the western sky will be able to see these planets as they converge, without special equipment. Viewing information and graphics displaying the different combinations that will form are available at Images are available for republication by the media at (NOTE: These are not NASA sites)

News Archive Search  Go!
Show  results per page
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 12 Apr 2002