While many of us practise social distancing, Jupiter and Mars will defy these measures and get pretty close on Friday.
In reality, these two planets will still be hundreds of millions of miles apart. However, from Earth, these planets will appear very close. If you want to witness this fascinating spectacle, called a conjunction, you’ll have to get up pretty early in the morning, as it will be visible out to the east at about 4am on Friday morning (March 20).
Unlike conjunctions between planets and moon, these “meetings” between Mars and Jupiter don’t happen very often. It last happened in January 2018 and, before that, in November 2015.
It’s supposed to be pretty cloudy around that time in the south of England, but those in Northern Ireland, Scotland, north Wales and northern England are supposed to have a pretty clear night, according to the Met Office.
Hopefully, those of you self-isolating will be able to see this from a window that faces east. If you’re viewing from a garden or a balcony, you’re going to have to wrap up warm because it’s set to be freezing in some places around the UK.
On Saturday March 21 you will still be able to see Jupiter and Mars in fairly close proximity if you look to the sky a couple of hours before sunrise. And, on March 31, you may be able to see something equally beautiful when Mars and Saturn will seem to meet. The orange/yellow colour of Mars can contrast beautifully with Saturn, which is pale yellow/white.