Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

5 Brightest Planets Align for First Time in a Decade

Science
5 Brightest Planets Align for First Time in a Decade

For the next few weeks, stargazers are in for a treat. It's the first time in more than a decade that all five planets visible with the naked eye—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn—are visible at the same time.

Those in the Northern Hemisphere should look to the south about 45 minutes before sunrise, while those in the Southern Hemisphere should look to the north.

About 45 minutes before sunrise from Jan. 20 to Feb. 10, all five naked-eye planets will be visible simultaneously. At the end of January, the waning moon will join the celestial party. Photo credit: Sky & Telescope

"Venus and Jupiter will be easy to see, being the brightest objects in the sky," Professor Fred Watson of the Australian Astronomical Observatory told The Guardian. "Mars should also be easy to spot because of its distinctive red or golden color."

“Saturn is between Mars and Venus, so it’s lower down,” Watson said. “It’s the one you’re most likely to confuse with stars because it’s not as bright as Jupiter. But it’s yellowish. And with binoculars with about 10 times magnification you can tell it’s not a round dot of light like a star—it looks elongated.” Mercury can also be tricky to spot because it will be close to the rising sun.

The reason for this rare, celestial phenomenon is that "the five planets happen to be on the same side of the sun at the same time," Alan Duffy, an astrophysicist at Swinburne University, explained to The Guardian. So, all the planets will be visible in the early morning, rather than some of them being visible in the evening.

If you miss out this time, you'll be able to see all five of the planets again in August when they will be visible just after sunset. But that will be your last chance until 2018.

For more information on this rare, celestial occurrence, listen to this Here & Now segment:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Why Mars as a Backup Planet Isn’t a Good Idea

Human Emissions Will Delay Next Ice Age by 50,000 Years, Study Says

Geologists: Humans’ Mark on the Earth Will Be Detectable Millions of Years From Now

Watch 25 Years of Arctic Sea Ice Melt in One Minute

A North Atlantic right whale feeds off the shores of Duxbury Beach, Massachusetts in 2015. David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The population of extremely endangered North Atlantic right whales has fallen even further in the last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Monday.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Hundreds of Canadian children took part in a massive protest march against climate change in Toronto, Canada, on May 24, 2019. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Heather Houser

Compost. Fly less. Reduce your meat consumption. Say no to plastic. These imperatives are familiar ones in the repertoire of individual actions to reduce a person's environmental impact. Don't have kids, or maybe just one. This climate action appears less frequently in that repertoire, but it's gaining currency as climate catastrophes mount. One study has shown that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from having one fewer child in the United States is 20 times higher—yes 2000% greater—than the impact of lifestyle changes like those listed above.

Read More Show Less

Trending

For the first time on record, the main nursery of Arctic sea ice in Siberia has yet to start freezing by late October. Euronews / YouTube

By Sharon Guynup

At this time of year, in Russia's far north Laptev Sea, the sun hovers near the horizon during the day, generating little warmth, as the region heads towards months of polar night. By late September or early October, the sea's shallow waters should be a vast, frozen expanse.

Read More Show Less
Fossil remains indicate these birds had a wingspan of over 20 feet. Brian Choo, CC BY-NC-SA

By Peter A. Kloess

Picture Antarctica today and what comes to mind? Large ice floes bobbing in the Southern Ocean? Maybe a remote outpost populated with scientists from around the world? Or perhaps colonies of penguins puttering amid vast open tracts of snow?

Read More Show Less
A baby orangutan displaced by palm oil plantation logging is seen at Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Center in Borneo, Indonesia on May 27, 2017. Jonathan Perugia / In Pictures / Getty Images

The world's largest financial institutions loaned more than $2.6 trillion in 2019 to sectors driving the climate crisis and wildlife destruction, according to a new report from advocacy organization portfolio.earth.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch