Slooh is teaming up with TIME for Kids to bring our youngest astronomers an evening of planet hunting and Solar System exploration, as we watch five of the brightest planets gather together in the night’s sky.
On the night of August 16th, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will all be visible at the exact same time, provided you know where to look. Don’t know where to look? Don’t worry, Slooh has you covered. During our live broadcast, we’ll show you exactly where to look in your own back yard to discover our planetary neighbors. And we’re challenging our viewers to spot these planets themselves ahead of the broadcast. Before the start of the show, you’ll be able to view and snap pictures in our Constellation Cam, offering a wide view of the sky at our Canary Islands observatory. Grab the kids, snap some photos, and see how many planets you can spot.
While some may be billing this as an “alignment” of the planets, the planets won’t actually line up. In fact, they’ll actually appear in two groups. Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter will only appear for those with sharp eyes and a clear Western horizon. These three planets will be keeping low in the sky and will be visible at dusk in your local time. Keep an eye out for them as the sun sets.
Mars and Saturn meanwhile will be the stars of our show, as they rise high in the Southern skies, forming a triangle with the bright star Antares. You’ll be able to see these planets clearly in our Constellation Cam, thanks to their distinct colors.
During the show, our host, Eric Edelman, will give us a guided tour of the skies, and will help our young audience learn to spot their favorite planet among the many appearing that night, and during other nights that week. He’ll explain how the planets move, and how this Planetary High Five happened.
Then, we’ll be zooming in on Mars and Saturn, and zooming in on the future, as we look toward further exploration of our nearest neighbors. Eric will be joined by Josh Richards, a finalist in the Mars One mission, who is hoping to be one of the first people to set foot on the Red Planet, to find out why he wants to travel to another planet, and what he plans to do if he finally gets there.
We’ll also get up close and personal with the planet Saturn as we explore the possibility of life, human or alien, on one of its many, many moons.