Getty Images/Science Photo Library RM

The moon is blocking out three planets in less than 24 hours.

Stacey Leasca
September 18, 2017

Stargazers have been blessed with several major celestial events this year, including the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse that passed from coast to coast over the United States just a few weeks ago.

Now, on Monday evening, we will catch a glimpse of another truly rare event: The occultation.

In less than 24 hours, Newsweek explained, the moon will pass in front of three planets (Venus, Mercury, and Mars), along with one of the night sky’s brightest stars, Regulus. This is the first time the moon has passed over three planets in such a short period of time since 2008, and the last time it will do so until 2036.

Related: Where to Find the Darkest Skies in the U.S. for Serious Stargazing

Sunday into Monday morning, the moon passed in front of both Venus and the star Regulus, and at 4 p.m. EST it is set to pass in front of Mars. At 7 p.m. the moon is expected to cover Mercury.

Sadly for Americans, the event will be best viewed in places like Australia and New Zealand. However, as Quartz noted, those living in Hawaii will get a great view of the moon passing in front of Mars tonight.

“It’s almost like it’s a dance in the sky,” Jackie Faherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, told The New York Times. “It’s going to pass its partners.”

Related: The U.S. May Soon Get Its First-ever Dark Sky Reserve

And as The New York Times explained, even if you can’t catch a glimpse of this highly rare event, it may come as a great consolation prize to know just how important this event is to understanding our closest astronomical neighbors.

As NASA noted, during the 1977 occultation event, the rings of Uranus were discovered by NASA’s Kuiper Airborne Observatory when the planet occulted a star.

So either give thanks to science today, or go the opposite way and check your horoscope, because the planets aligning could mean big changes to come.

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