For the first time in more than a decade, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter will be visible for the common eye from January 20 through the end of February. The rare event can be seen early in the morning, an hour before sunrise.

Astronomers recommend finding a clear horizon and a dark sky so they can see clearly the event. It would be easier outside the cities due to all the lights and pollution in them. They also said to not only try once, because maybe the perfect view can be found in the second or third day.

An approximation of how the planets would look in the sky. Image: Gizmodo
An approximation of how the planets would look in the sky. Image: Gizmodo

The order of the planets will not be the same as the commonly known, they will start from the eastern horizon starring with Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter being the last one.

It should be easy to spot the planets, because “stars twinkle, but planets do not” said Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer and planetarium director for The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The phenomenon can be seen in the eastern, southeastern, and around to the south, Pitts added.

The planets should also appear brighter that the stars, but Venus will be the brightest of them all. Binoculars will not be needed to spot the planets, but if someone either way uses them, they could see the four large moons of Jupiter. If someone has even deeper curiosity and uses a telescope, he or she would be able to view the rings of Saturn. Maybe being curious at this time could lead to a once in a lifetime view.

Even if curiosity does not strike on this month, they will have others opportunities through this year. In August it will be another opportunity. Pitts said that even though this does not happen often, the next several years are the exception. There will be some “planet gathering” going forward for some years, but the planets will not be so high up in the sky as this time, he said.

The remaining planets, according to Dr Tanya Hill, museum Victoria astronomer, Neptune and Uranus and Pluto will not be visible, only the brightest.

Source: CBS News