Five planets aligned last night - here's what to look out for if you missed it

Five planets were visible in the sky last night as they lined up near the moon.

Stargazers who stayed up on Monday could spot Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus, and Mars on the horizon - all with purely the naked eye.

They were even visible in a bright city like London.

But don't worry too much if you missed it for yourself.

Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomer Anna Gammon-Ross told Sky News that Mercury and Venus in particular should still be putting on a show for some time to come.

That's because they are approaching what's known as their "greatest elongation".

"This is when the planet is at its apparent furthest distance from the sun in the sky," said Ms Gammon-Ross.

Mercury's is on 11 April, and so it will remain easier to spot until then. Venus will follow on 4 June.

Ms Gammon-Ross added: "As Mercury orbits so close to the sun, for much of the time these objects are too close to each other for Mercury to be clearly visible - and looking so close to the sun is dangerous for your eyes.

"This means that the further Mercury appears to be from the sun, the easier it is to spot."

What about the other three planets?

The news isn't so positive if you're particularly keen on Mars, Jupiter, or Uranus.

That particular planetary trio is setting a little earlier with each night that passes - that means they're up for less of the night and getting lower in the sky.

On Tuesday night, Jupiter will set at around 8.20pm in the UK - just an hour after the sun goes down.

It will be so low by then that it will likely be obscured by buildings or trees if you live in a built-up area. You may have more luck if you live out in the countryside.

Jupiter will be completely invisible by 10 April, Ms Gammon-Ross said.

To give yourself the best chance of seeing the three planets that are starting to fall away, Ms Gammon-Ross's observatory recommends you use a telescope or binoculars.

Why does planetary alignment happen?

Unlike Earth, the solar system is shaped like a flat disc - with the planets orbiting the same region in space.

Astronomer Jake Foster, also of the Greenwich observatory, said it made occasional alignment "inevitable".

"This can happen a few times a year," he told Sky News.

"The amount of planets you can see changes, the order of the planets can change."

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When will it happen next?

The next alignment will happen in autumn, featuring Mercury, Saturn, Venus, Uranus, and Mars.

"We always encourage people to get out there and feel more connected to the skies above them," Mr Foster said.

"These events are a great chance to get outside and there are a few easy targets that you can see - the amazing planets of the solar system."