Starting tomorrow, Jan 20th 2016, all five (of the visible) planets will be visible to the naked eye during the morning twilight. If you head outside to a good viewing point about an hour before sunrise you can catch a glimpse of Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus. [1]

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“You’re in luck, if you’re a morning person. A great planet drama takes place in the predawn sky in January, 2016.” – EarthSky

This is the first time this alignment has happened in about a decade.

Mercury will be the toughest to spot given how dim it may appear, but the other four should be relatively easy to see under the right conditions, i.e. little cloud cover and light pollution.

Will you be able to see it from your location? Yes, unless you live in the North Pole (but if that’s the case I don’t feel all that bad for you because not only do you likely see Santa often, but you also have access to the amazing and interesting things going on at our earth’s snowy cap).

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You can catch all of these planets each morning until about mid-February. Should you miss this alignment during this period for whatever reason, you can observe it once again in August of 2016, when they will be aligned and visible once more.

All five planets are visible at once due to the fact that each planet’s position along its orbit lies to the right of the sun when viewed from above the solar system. So as the earth spins they will all be visible just before sunrise. This stargazing opportunity will end as soon as the sun rises, which is the last visible celestial body to rise in this alignment.

So depending on where you live, get up about an hour before sunrise, and see what you can see!

As EarthSky mentions: “Prior to that, you might spot Mercury in the west after sunset during the first several days of January – or if you’re a night owl, you might catch Jupiter rising above your eastern horizon at late evening. But this month’s planet parade is custom-designed for the morning person. Four planets adorn the morning sky throughout January, 2016. From around the world, Jupiter rises in the east at late evening, Mars rises next an hour or two after midnight, and then Venus and Saturn climb up above the southeast horizon pretty much concurrently about 2.5 hours before sunrise. Venus and Saturn team up to stage a particularly close planetary conjunction on January 9. Follow the links below to learn more about the January planets.”

For a full guide to this alignment I would reccomend checking out EarthSky as they have a very in depth and detailed guide written here.


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