See 5 bright planets at once! | EarthSky.org


First time we can see 5 planets at once since 2005. All 5 are up before dawn. The moon is now sweeping past the planets and can help you identify them.

The last time we saw all five visible planets together was from about December 15, 2004, to January 15, 2005, over a decade ago.

By bright or visible planet, we mean any planet in our own solar system that’s easily viewed without an optical aid and that has been watched by our ancestors since time immemorial.

See photos of the 5 planets, from the EarthSky community

In their outward order from the sun, the five bright planets are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. These planets are easily seen in our sky because they are relatively nearby. Their disks reflect sunlight and shine with a steadier light than the distant, twinkling stars.

You can catch most of these planets long before dawn. Jupiter rises first, in the evening hours, followed by Mars after midnight and then Saturn, Venus and Mercury. Click here for recommended almanacs that will help you find when each planet rises into your sky for any given date.

Distances from the sun of planets in our solar system, expressed in A.U.  Graph via planetsforkids.org

Distances from the sun of planets in our solar system, expressed in A.U. Graph via planetsforkids.org

Relative distances of the planets to the sun. These distances are expressed in astronomical units (AUs, or sun-Earth units):

Mercury: 0.387 AU
Venus: 0.723 AU
Earth: 1.000 AU
Mars: 1.524 AU
Jupiter: 5.203 AU
Saturn: 9.529 AU
Uranus: 19.19 AU
Neptune: 30.06 AU

When will we see all five planets together again? We’ve had a number of people ask us when the next presentation of the five visible planets in the same sky will take place. It will be possible to view all five in the evening sky – very briefly – from about August 13 to 19, 2016.

There’s a huge caveat, however. Right now, all five planets are strung out across the early morning sky in an easy-to-see way (well, Mercury is the tough one, so close to the sunrise, but keep watching … it’ll get easier). In August, Mercury and Venus will be sitting low in the west at dusk and not that easy to catch from northerly latitudes.

The Southern Hemisphere definitely has the big advantage for spotting all five planets in the August, 2016, evening sky.

Bottom line: All five bright planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – will appear together in the morning sky from about January 20 to February 20, 2016. That hasn’t happened since 2005. The moon is sweeping past the planets, beginning with Jupiter on the night of January 27, 2016. Then Mars on the morning of February 1. Then Saturn, Venus, Mercury!

Source: See 5 bright planets at once! | EarthSky.org

Posted Sunday, 31 January 2016 by Culebra Snorkeling and Dive Center in Culebra Posts & Reviews

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