Perth space nerds to be treated to alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Moon and extra-bright International Space Station flyover

Perth space nerds to be treated to alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Moon and extra-bright International Space Station flyover thumbnail
The Perth skies are set to be a space nerd’s dream this weekend, with a string of planet sightings and space station flyovers.An early alarm tomorrow morning will pay off with a chance to see a rare alignment of planets.Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the Moon are due to align in the early hours, providing a…

The Perth skies are set to be a space nerd’s dream this weekend, with a string of planet sightings and space station flyovers.

An early alarm tomorrow morning will pay off with a chance to see a rare alignment of planets.

Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the Moon are due to align in the early hours, providing a unique spectacle for budding photographers.

Perth Observatory’s Matt Woods said the alignment of planets above Perth only happened a handful of times each year, while being able to see these three and the moon together was particularly unusual.

“They’re all going to be similar distances from each other which will make it a very nice little alignment,” he said.

The best sighting hours are set to be between 2.15am and sunrise.

The International Space Station, which hasn’t been seen in weeks over WA after flying over during daylight hours, will make its comeback with several extra-bright flyovers from Saturday.

Mr Woods said the flyovers were timed perfectly, with the space station still drawing light from the sun while Perth remains in darkness.

The International Space Station.
Camera IconThe International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Roscosmos

The flyovers are set to take place over Perth from 7.01pm on Saturday, 6.14pm on Sunday, 7.04pm on Monday and 6.16pm on Tuesday.

While WA self-isolates during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents have used the opportunity to teach their children more about the sky.

Mr Woods said the observatory was being flooded with questions from excited families and space enthusiasts in recent weeks.

“There seems to be even more people loving space. People are looking for things to do while they’re in lockdown,” he said.

“(The planet alignment) is free to look and and you don’t need an expensive telescope, you can just look up at the sky.”

The Perth Observatory, which has closed due to the pandemic, has taken to livestreaming the night sky to its visitors.

The Observatory will be livestreaming a Virtual Star Party on Saturday through its YouTube channel.

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