See big 5 planets align in the sky with your little eye

The Earth, The Moon and Mars align--- Image by © Radius Images/Corbis
The Earth, The Moon and Mars align--- Image by © Radius Images/Corbis

According to EarthSky.org, the five planets will be bright enough to be easily viewed with the naked eye, especially if the sky is clear. The ideal time to view all the planets in a row is about 45 minutes before sunrise and they will be visible each day before dawn until February 20, 2016.

The five bright planets will be aligned diagonally, stretching from low in the east to higher in the north. According to Phys.org, Jupiter can be seen in the north, followed by Mars, then Saturn and Venus. Mercury will initially appear low to the eastern horizon but will steadily rise higher each morning.

The event is a rare occurrence and is happening for the first time since January 2005.

Scientists say the reason for the unusual sight is that Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be on the same side of the sun at the same time. Because all the planets sit on a single plane, and we’re looking at them from inside that plane, they will all appear to be sitting in a line.

For better viewing avoid areas with big city lights. It will be best to view on a higher plane with little or no obstructions from buildings and trees.

For South Africans who would like to make a double whammy occasion of the event, there will also be a full moon visible over our southern skies on Saturday, 23 January.

Stargazers will get another chance to see the sight in August when all five planets will be together again, only this time on the other side of the sun, meaning they will be visible just after sunset rather than before sunrise. It will not happen again until 2018.

 

Source: the guardian & news24

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