Remember ‘My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas’ – the handy memory trick we used in school to remember the names of all the planets in the solar system? Well, next week, Dubai citizens can see four of them. Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter will line up with the moon and be visible to the naked eye.
Can’t trust you’ll remember which ones to look out for? ‘My Vibrant Magenta Jacket’ should jog the grey cells. We sadly can’t help you with a mnemonic device for the date, so mark your calendars for March 28 and set a reminder. On Tuesday evening, these four planets will align and line up together with the moon, creating a visual spectacle for astronomers in Dubai.
Will all four planets be visible in an actual straight line?
Hasan Ahmad Al Hariri, the CEO of Dubai Astronomy Group and founder of Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre explains that the planets will be visible as an arc at separate points in the sky, and not a straight line.
Where should I look for these planets?
Update your compass app – the west of the horizon after sunset is the general rule of thumb. As the crescent moon of Ramadan waxes and gets fuller, it will be visible along with the four planets, Mr. Al Hariri says.
Is Uranus going to be visible too?
A lot of news outlets and websites mention that the distant seventh planet of our solar system will be visible. Much like the sun, that information is just a lot of hot gas. Sadly, nope, you can’t spot it. Uranus is so far out from the orbit of Earth, it usually can’t ever be seen with the naked eye.
But don’t let that dim your excitement. If you’ve got your heart set on catching a glimpse of our solar system’s coldest planet, the advanced computerised telescopes at Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre will make that happen.
Why are these planets suddenly visible now?
Fun fact: these planets are always visible! What’s changing is the perspective we’re viewing them from on earth, explains Mr. Al Hariri. “Just as we travel around the sun, other planets do too but they orbit at different speeds than Earth.”
At this time of year, the earth’s position is perfectly aligned with these other planets’ orbits to offer an unobstructed of them all. It’s a happy cosmic coincidence.
Just make sure to reserve a slot at the Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre website to gaze at this celestial spectacle. Find details on their website