Weather permitting, Hong Kong residents will be able to witness an astronomical phenomenon known as the "Parade of the five planets".
The "parade" will occur from late March to early April and can be seen after sunset from about 6.30pm to 8pm.
The so-called "Parade of the five planets" means that the five brightest planets in the solar system - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn - will be on the same side of the Sun (Figure 1). From the Earth's perspective, the five planets can be observed in the same night sky.
For the parade in March-April, the five planets will appear from west to east near the ecliptic in the order of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. Mercury will be near the western horizon. Higher up will be Venus, Mars and Saturn in the west or west-northwest while Jupiter will be positioned high in the east-southeast (Figure 2).
The best places to observe the "Parade of the five planets" will be on high grounds with unobstructed views to the west-northwest.
Please refer to the Hong Kong Observatory Homepage for detailed information on the "Parade of the five planets": http://www.hko.gov.hk/gts/event/event-parade_e.htm
Figure 1 When Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn move to one side of the Sun, from the Earth's perspective they will be relatively close to each other and the "Parade of the five planets" occurs.
Figure 2 The positions of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in the night sky in Hong Kong in January-March 2004.