Photo Of The Day: How To See The Historic Five-Planet Alignment

Published January 22, 2016
Updated February 5, 2018
Published January 22, 2016
Updated February 5, 2018
Five Planet Alignment

The five planets visible to the naked eye will be able to be seen all together for the first time in over a decade. Image Source: imgur

Right now, for the first time in a decade, five planets are simultaneously visible to the naked eye from Earth. This rare celestial event can be seen every morning until late February at around 45 minutes before sunrise, with the view peaking in late January/early February.

Each morning, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus, and finally Mercury will rise, in that order. These planets (and Earth) all orbit the sun in a similar plane called the ecliptic. Each planet, however, orbits the Sun at different speeds, meaning that they rarely line up in a way that can be seen from Earth. But for the next few weeks, things will line up just right.

To catch the view for yourself, head out before dawn and look south if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, north if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Venus is the brightest planet, followed by Jupiter. Saturn will shine in a yellow color, while Mars appears to be a rusty red. Mercury will be the hardest to spot, as it’s nearest to the horizon. Look for Mercury to the lower left of Venus.

If the blustery winter air proves too much, there will be another opportunity to see the planetary alignment from August 13 to 19.

Nickolaus Hines
Nickolaus Hines is a freelance writer in New York City. He graduated from Auburn University, and his recent bylines can be found at Men's Journal, Inverse, and Grape Collective.
Close Pop-in
Like All That's Interesting

Get The Most Fascinating Content On The Web In Your Facebook & Twitter Feeds