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When and where to look for Tuesday's planetary alignment

The weather should be perfect in Colorado for stargazers and astronomy fans.

DENVER — Stargazers and astronomy fans will be looking up this week as five planets gather together in the western sky.

Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus and Mars will line up for a planetary hangout around the moon Tuesday evening.

The best time to catch the five-planet alignment will be just after sunset Tuesday in the western sky. NASA said the planets will stretch from the horizon line to around halfway up the night sky.

Don't be late because Mercury and Jupiter will quickly dip below the horizon around half an hour after sunset.

NASA said the five-planet view can be seen from anywhere on Earth, as long as you have clear skies and a clear view of the west.

In Colorado, the skies are expected to be clear at sunset Tuesday.

Credit: WCNC Charlotte
Planets viewable after Tuesday night
Credit: KENS 5 Weather

Do I need binoculars?

Maybe. Jupiter, Venus and Mars will be pretty easy to see since they shine brightly. Venus will be one of the brightest things in the sky, and Mars will be hanging out near the moon with a reddish glow.

Mercury and Uranus could be trickier to spot, since they will be dimmer. You’ll probably need to grab a pair of binoculars.

Does this happen often?

Different numbers and groups of planets line up in the sky from time to time. There was a five-planet lineup last summer and there's another one in June, with a slightly different makeup.

This kind of alignment happens when the planets’ orbits lines them up on one side of the sun from Earth’s perspective, according to NASA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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