See Five Planets Align in the Sky during End of January / Early February 2016

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditDigg this

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are aligning for the first time in over a decade, and there’s no need for telescopes or binoculars to see the event, since all five planets will look like bright stars in the morning twilight.

02planetsalign.adapt.1190.1
ILLUSTRATION BY ANDREW FAZEKAS, SKYSAFARI

Five Planets Align, End of January

While many early risers may have noticed some of the planets days ago, the best time to look will be from Saturday, January 23 through the end of the first week of February.

During those days, there will be a narrow window in which to catch Mercury in line with the others. If you look too early, it’ll be hidden below the horizon. If you look too late, it’ll be washed out by sunlight. The prime time to see it and the other planets will be about 30 to 60 minutes before local sunrise. Since Mercury will be very low in the southeast (the same direction as the rising sun), make sure to find a viewing spot with a clear view of the horizon.

Venus, the brightest of all the visible planets, will appear to the upper right of Mercury. On January 22nd, the two planets will be separated by about 10 degrees, equal to about the width of your fist at arm’s length. By February 10 the two planets will be less than 5 degrees apart, or about the width of your three middle fingers at arm’s length.

03planetsalign.adapt.1190.1

The planetary alignment visible in Earth’s skies is due to the relative positions of the planets in their orbits around the sun.
ILLUSTRATION BY ANDREW FAZEKAS, SKYSAFARI

The other three planets will be further to the upper right of Venus. Yellow-colored Saturn, a bit dimmer than Venus, comes first. If you have a telescope, this will be a good time to train it at Saturn and marvel at the planet’s magnificent rings and brighter moons.

Mars will appear to Saturn’s right, looking bright orange, with Jupiter off to its far upper right, completing the alignment high in the southern sky. Binoculars will show off Jupiter’s four largest moons, which were first seen by Galileo in 1609 with the newly invented telescope.

The entire lineup of planets spans some 110 degrees—more than half of the locally visible skyline. The planets’ simultaneous visibility in one part of our sky is due to their positions in their respective orbits relative to Earth and the Sun.

04planetsalign.adapt.1190.1

By February 6, the thin crescent moon will pose with brilliant Venus and Mercury low in the southeast at dawn.
ILLUSTRATION BY ANDREW FAZEKAS, SKYSAFARI

As an added bonus, the moon will play cosmic hopscotch, jumping from one planet to the next, offering an amazing photo opportunity for sky hounds.

The moon will first pair up with Jupiter on January 27 and 28, then it will park itself next to Mars on February 1, Saturn on February 3, Venus on February 5, and finally Mercury on February 6.

If you miss this alignment, your next chance to so easily see a grand parade of five planets will be in July 2020.

Clear skies!

Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, on Twitter, Facebook, and his website.

.

Is Gold Real Money or Fiat Currency?

Global Banks Are Stocking on Gold Bullion

I Am Doing the Same - You Can Too:

GetInstantAccess

goldbars gif


Leave a Reply

4 Comments on "See Five Planets Align in the Sky during End of January / Early February 2016"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Gerald and Genevieve
Guest

Nice

trackback

[…] So Far: This will be a reboot of the Warner Bros. franchise so Ryan Reynolds is not expected to reprise his role—plus he’s also busy being Deadpool for Marvel. Green Lantern is rumored to make his […]

trackback

[…] watch too. Take the revamped Overseas collection: Now featuring three new in-house Hallmark of Geneva calibers, the line underwent a series of subtle yet all-encompassing design updates in time for SIHH […]

trackback

[…] “aged” well in some respects. But you can’t deny how much fun it is to watch two of the greatest basketball players of all time make shot after shot and try to outdo one another. “Over the second […]

wpDiscuz