Five Brightest Planets Will Line Up Like a String of Pearls in Pre-Dawn Sky
Get ready for a pre-dawn glimpse of our neighbors in the solar system.
By ALYSSA NEWCOMB
January 19, 2016, 3:34 PM
• 3 min read
-- Get ready for a glimpse of our neighbors in the solar system.
Five bright planets -- Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter -- will be visible just before sunrise beginning Jan. 20. The planetary spectacle is expected to last for the next month -- and the best part is, people hoping to get a look at the cosmic occurrence can enjoy it with the naked eye.
On Wednesday, about an hour before sunrise, look for the planets to be aligned diagonally on the southern horizon. It will be the first time in 11 years the five planets -- the only others in our solar system capable of being visible to the naked eye -- have shown themselves at the same time, according to EarthSky.org.
The best viewing is expected to be in the early morning hours with a clear sky. The easiest way to find the arc is to locate Venus on the southeastern horizon, Earth's nearest planetary neighbor. It's the brightest planet in Earth's dark skies -- with only the moon shining brighter, according to NASA. Mars will appear as a reddish dot.
Don't be fooled by the planets' order from the sun. This time around, the planets will appear in a line, from left to right, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. If going outside in the winter chill to check out the spectacle doesn't sound appealing, you'll get another chance this August when EarthSky.org says the planets will put on a week-long encore performance from Aug. 13 to Aug. 19.