Five planets aligned for the next few days

Up early everyday?  if so, head outside over the next month for a planetary treat.

Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter will all be lined up in the morning sky, stretching from east to west.

As reported by USA Today, Jupiter is the highest in the sky, lying in the southwest. It rises first in the evening sky, shortly after 10 p.m. Mars will have risen after 2 a.m., followed by Saturn and Venus a couple of hours later.

Five planets aligned
Five planets aligned

‘We expect people from both Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres to see Mercury with relative ease by around January 25,’ wrote EarthSky.org.

‘Mercury will be at its best in the morning sky for several weeks, centered around February 7, 2016.

‘At this juncture, Mercury rises about 80 minutes before the sun at mid-northern latitudes.

‘At temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, Mercury rises a whopping two hours (120 minutes) before sunrise.’

Four morning planets from east to west: Venus, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter. Mercury will join this group on January 20, The green line highlights the ecliptic – Earth’s orbital plane projected onto the dome of sky

Four morning planets from east to west: Venus, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter. Mercury will join this group on January 20, The green line highlights the ecliptic – Earth’s orbital plane projected onto the dome of sky

erate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, Mercury rises a whopping two hours (120 minutes) before sunrise.’

As for Mercury, due to its proximity to the sun (being the nearest planet to our star), it’s a bit trickier to make out. It rises just after 7 a.m.

Venus will be the brightest planet near the horizon. Jupiter is the second-brightest, with Saturn third brightest and Mars being the dimmest between Saturn and Jupiter.

The stars Antares (shown) and Spica will also be visible in the same patch of sky. Uranus and Neptune are the only two planets that won't be on show. Mid-northern latitudes in Europe and Asia will see the moon somewhat offset in relation to the planets during February, according to EarthSky.org
The stars Antares (shown) and Spica will also be visible in the same patch of sky. Uranus and Neptune are the only two planets that won’t be on show. Mid-northern latitudes in Europe and Asia will see the moon somewhat offset in relation to the planets during February, according to EarthSky.org

You won’t need a telescope, as all the planets will be visible with the naked eye.

But EarthSky.org recommends using binoculars to see them more clearly.

This is the first time these planets have been aligned since 2005. And even better is that you will be able to catch all five of these night sky jewels all the way until Feb. 20.

You can check if the sky will be cloudy or clear over the next few days on this National Weather Service forecast page. At the left under forecast element, click on “Sky Cover” and hit play (blue means clear skies and gray means cloudy skies.)

Though it’s been 10 years since the last time these planets were aligned, the next alignment isn’t so far off: all five will once again meet in the night sky from Aug. 13 to 19 (but they won’t be lined up).

Will you be staying up late or getting up early to see the Five planets aligned?  Let us know in the comment section below.

 

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