For the first time since 2005, you’ll be able to see all five visible planets (Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus, Mercury) at once – if you get up early enough, that is.
This Australian Geographic interview explains: “Dr Alan Duffy, research fellow at Swinburne University in Melbourne, said that this reasonably rare alignment is ‘essentially a quirk’ of the universe. All the planets sit on a flat plane but have different yearly cycles – so for all five visible planets to happen to line up is ‘something well worth seeing,’ he said.”
The best time to see the planets is during the last week of January and first week of February, 45 minutes before sunrise. If you have an Android device, the SkEye app will show you where to look in your hemisphere.
Image credits: Alan Duffy
Image credits: Doug Murray
Image credits: ABC News
Tips For The Northern Hemisphere:
1. The best time to see the alignment will be before dawn between January 20th and January 24th. Though you’ll be able to partially see it up to February 20th.
2. Look south. Mercury will be closest to the eastern horizon, while Jupiter will loiter in the west-southwest.
3. Try to find a flat horizon and a dark sky. If possible, head away from the lights of civilization.
4. Hold your arm up in a straight line from the horizon to the moon and the planets should fall along that line.
5. Don’t give up! It may take more than one early morning to see the full alignment.
6. You’ll be able to see the planets with the naked eye, but if you have a telescope, it’ll look even better.
7. You can use an app like SkEye to get updates on the best time to stargaze in your area.