Bright Venus, red Mars and the crescent moon are all lining up for a sky show early in the morning Sunday (Feb. 27).
If you're up and available after 4 a.m. local time, be sure to head outside and look to the southeast. By the time the sun rises in New York City at 6:14 a.m., for example, the three worlds will be 19 degrees above the horizon and well visible above many buildings and ground obstacles.
You can use the moon as an easy pointing device to see Mars (shining at magnitude 0.3 just above the moon) and Venus, the highest of the three worlds at a spectacular -4.6 in magnitude. For perspective, stars visible to the naked eye in dark conditions are magnitude 6 or lower, so these three worlds will be quite easy to see.
Close to the horizon are Saturn and Mercury, which may be difficult to spot if there are obstructions on the horizon. The pair may be easier to spot if you wait a day; the moon will be in another alignment with those planets on Monday morning (Feb. 28).
If you take a photograph of Venus, Mars and the moon let us know! You can send images and comments in to email@example.com.
In-The-Sky.org (opens in new tab) warns that the moon, Venus and Mars will not be close enough to each other to be visible in a single binocular or telescopic field of view, but if you have access to this equipment, you can look for craters on the moon. Venus and Mars will appear a little brighter and bigger, but not much different, in a typical amateur set of equipment.
If you're looking for binoculars or a telescope to see planets like Venus and Mars in the night sky, check our our guide for the best binoculars deals of 2021 and the best telescope deals now. If you need equipment, consider our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography to prepare for the next planet sight.
Worlds commonly align in Earth's sky in conjunctions, which refer to times when these celestial bodies appear to draw near one another from our planet's perspective. Conjunctions are quite common because the planets, moon and sun all share the same approximate pathway through our sky, called the ecliptic.