GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — For the first time in eleven years five planets will align in the early morning sky, completely visible to the naked eye.
This “Parade of Planets” will be on display each morning through the mid-February. The display won’t be visible all night. Astronomers put optimal viewing at 45 minutes before sunrise. Any earlier, Mercury will be low on the horizon.
To anyone looking south on a clear morning the planets will appear in this order from left to right: Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, then Jupiter. The brightest of these will be Venus. No telescope is needed, just gaze up from most anywhere in the world.
Each morning, the moon will slide farther up the line of planets. Here is the location of the moon by date:
January 28th: The moon will pair with Jupiter
February 1st: The moon will pair with Mars
February 3rd: The moon will pair with Saturn
February 5th: The moon with pair with Venus
February 6th: The moon with pair with Mercury
Our current forecast calls for a lot of cloud cover, but well-timed breaks in the southern sky near dawn would be enough to catch a glimpse of this celestial spectacle. All five planets will appear together until Feb. 20.
The five planets will be together again in August — and again in 2020 — but Mercury will be even harder to see.
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