Five Planets Align For First Time In A Decade; FYI Last Time: Indian Ocean Earthquake And Tsunami December 26 2004
The solar system is all set to give a rare celestial show.
Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter will all be visible from Earth when they appear in a diagonal row before dawn on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
It’s the first time the five bright planets, so-called as they can usually be seen easily with the naked eye, have aligned in such a way for more than 10 years, reports EarthSky.org.
The phenomenon will continue every early morning until Feb. 20.
“Essentially a quirk of the universe,” Dr Alan Duffy, 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.
The waning moon will also sweep past the planets from Jan. 27 to Feb. 6, according to the Coachella Valley Independent.
Astronomers last got the chance to see the planets in a similar line-up between Dec. 15, 2004 and Jan. 15, 2005.
The next time the planets align is predicted to be in the evening sky from Aug. 13 to 19, according to EarthSky.org, but Mercury and Venus will sit low and not be easily seen from the northern hemisphere.
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