Like a busy urban family, planets rarely get together all at once. Later this month, however, the five so-called naked-eye planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – will reunite in the night sky, giving spectators a unique chance to see Earth’s closest companions in one easy sitting.

The gathering will be visible every night for an hour after sunset, beginning around March 22 and lasting about two weeks. While other opportunities to catch a five-planet rendezvous will take place in the next few years, both at dawn and dusk, this one is not to be missed.

“This particular planetary grouping will quite possibly offer the best nighttime views until 2036,” says Dr. Myles Standish, an astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

For early risers, there will be…

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