Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury will be visible in the night sky during a rare triple conjunction

Abbianca Makoni
·1-min read
Jupiter: the gas giant is currently closer to Earth than at any other time in the year (AP)
Jupiter: the gas giant is currently closer to Earth than at any other time in the year (AP)

The two largest planets in our solar system and Mercury are set to align in a triple conjuction that will be visible in the UK.

It comes just two months after Jupiter and Saturn lined up on December 21 and appeared to form a double planet - just in time for the festive season.

The last time the two planets appeared that close and formed was in 1623.

Watch: What would happen if humans tried to land on Jupiter

But a triple conjunction is an astronomical event where two planets or a planet and a star meet each other three times in a short period.

On Thursday residents will be able to see the three distant worlds low on the eastern horizon.

Cloudy weather forecast this week could cause problems seeing the planets but they will be visible until Sunday - providing several viewing opportunities.NASA
Cloudy weather forecast this week could cause problems seeing the planets but they will be visible until Sunday - providing several viewing opportunities.NASA

Towards the south east of the eastern horizon, the planets will appear as small white dots just after 6am GMT.

Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun, will be the bottom of the triangle, closest to the horizon, with Mercury above and to the right and Saturn the highest of the group and furthest right in the sky.

The planets will be visible until the end of the weekend.

Over the course of the week Mercury and Jupiter will appear to come closer together, before drifting apart again after Sunday.

The planets should be visible to the naked eye as bright spots of light, but may be viewed better when viewed through binoculars or a telescope.

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