A Rare Celestial Show

Astronomy From the Web: Nature, Science & Tech

Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter will all be visible from Earth when they appear in a diagonal row before dawn on January 20th, writes Lee Moran in The Huffington Post.

The phenomenon will continue every early morning until February 20th, and it’s the first time those five bright planets have aligned in such a way in more than 10 years.

Planetary Pileup
Planetary Pile-up – Credit AP Photo/Doug Murray

The five brightest planets visible from Earth are photographed April 22, 2002. At top-most left is Jupiter, below and to the right is a star, directly below at the mid-point of the photo is Saturn, below and left of Saturn is the red star Aldebaran, diagonally to the right is Mars, then moving toward the horizon are Venus and Mercury (just inside the warmth of the sunset).

“Essentially a quirk of the universe,” Dr. Alan Duffy, a research fellow at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, told Australian Geographic about the formation. And with the five planets on different yearly cycles, he added their alignment was “something well worth seeing.”

Jupiter will rise first, followed by the red-tinted Mars, golden-looking Saturn, brightest planet Venus and lastly Mercury. Exact timings will vary each day and depend on where you are located.

The Washington Post reports that, if you look south from D.C. before dawn on Sunday, Jan. 24, then Mercury will be closest to the eastern horizon, while Jupiter will loiter in the west-southwest.

But don’t panic, there are a host of stargazing apps to help you figure out exactly where to look and which planet is which. Just hope it’s not cloudy.

Planets aligned
Credit Steve Allen/Getty Images

The order of the planets and dwarf planet Pluto from the Sun can be easily remembered with the mnemonic, “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas.”

Read full article on Huffington Post
All 5 Bright Planets To Be Visible From Earth At The Same Time

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