Quantcast

5 Brightest Planets Align for First Time in a Decade

Science

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

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

PhotoAlto / Laurence Mouton / Getty Images

By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD

You've probably heard the buzz around collagen supplements and your skin by now. But is the hype really that promising? After all, research has pointed to both the benefits and downsides of collagen supplements — and for many beauty-conscious folk, collagen isn't vegan.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Marlene Cimons

Neil Pederson's introduction to tree rings came from a "sweet and kindly" college instructor, who nevertheless was "one of the most boring professors I'd ever experienced," Pederson said. "I swore tree rings off then and there." But they kept coming back to haunt him.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Aerial view of the explosion site of a chemical factory on March 22 in Yancheng, Jiangsu Province of China. Caixin Media / VCG / Getty Images)

At least 47 people have died in an explosion at a plant in Yancheng, China Thursday run by a chemical company with a history of environmental violations, Sky News reported.

Read More Show Less
A fishmonger in Elmina, a fishing port in the Central Region of Ghana. Environmental Justice Foundation

By Daisy Brickhill

Each morning, men living in fishing communities along Ghana's coastline push off in search of the day's catch. But when the boats come back to shore, it's the women who take over.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Sam Nickerson

Links between excess sugar in your diet and disease have been well-documented, but new research by Harvard's School of Public Health might make you even more wary of that next soda: it could increase your risk of an early death.

The study, published this week in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, found that drinking one or two sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) each day — like sodas or sports drinks — increases risk of an early death by 14 percent.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Krystal B / Flickr

Tyson Foods is recalling approximately 69,093 pounds of frozen chicken strips because they may have been contaminated with pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.

The affected products were fully-cooked "Buffalo Style" and "Crispy" chicken strips with a "use by" date of Nov. 30, 2019 and an establishment number of "P-7221" on the back of the package.

"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' freezers," the recall notice said. "Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Hrefna Palsdottir, MS

Cold cereals are an easy, convenient food.

Read More Show Less
A tractor spraying a field with pesticides in Orem, Utah. Aqua Mechanical / CC BY 2.0

Environmental exposure to pesticides, both before birth and during the first year of life, has been linked to an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, according to the largest epidemiological study to date on the connection.

The study, published Wednesday in BMJ, found that pregnant women who lived within 2,000 meters (approximately 1.2 miles) of a highly-sprayed agricultural area in California had children who were 10 to 16 percent more likely to develop autism and 30 percent more likely to develop severe autism that impacted their intellectual ability. If the children were exposed to pesticides during their first year of life, the risk they would develop autism went up to 50 percent.

Read More Show Less