More than half of the planets in the solar system will be visible to Mainers next week. Credit: CBS 13

PORTLAND, Maine — Experts say more than half of the planets in the solar system will be visible in the sky from Saturday to Thursday.

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus will create a semi-circle in the sky.

Elizabeth Bates-Torrey is a student at the University of Southern Maine and works at the university’s Southworth Planetarium.

She’s counting down the days to see the planetary alignments.

“I’ve never seen it before, so it definitely will be my first time, so I’m very excited,” Bates-Torrey said.

Working at the planetarium has sparked her interest in planets.

“It’s definitely more exciting that I work at the planetarium, so I kind of learn a little bit more about the night sky,” Bates-Torrey said.

Planetarium Director Edward Herrick-Gleason says the night sky will be the best time to view the planets.

“If you want to try to see all five, you want to go out soon after dark around 7:30,” Herrick-Gleason said.

Herrick-Gleason says Mercury and Jupiter will be closest to the western horizon, so keep your eye out for these planets, because they’re the first to vanish.

He says Venus and Mars will be easiest to see due to their brightness.

Uranus will be difficult to see without a telescope or binoculars.

And how do planet gazers make out the difference between a star and a planet?

“In the real sky, planets look exactly like stars, except they won’t twinkle unless they are really low in horizon,” Herrick-Gleason said.

He says alignments like this happen every few years.

The last one was in 2022 with different planets.

Herrick-Gleason says to get the best view, avoid light pollution.

Try to go away from cities and look to the west at the horizon.

“Hopefully the weather will be okay Saturday, and if it is, I’ll definitely look outside and take a peek at it cause that’s really cool,” Herrick-Gleason said.

Herrick-Gleason says the moon will also be seen in the same part of the sky.