Five brightest planets gather in pre-dawn sky for heavenly show

January 21, 2016 byMarcia Dunn

Our five closest planetary neighbors are putting on a heavenly show.

Starting this week, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are gathering together in the pre-dawn sky. It's the first time these five have converged like this in more than a decade. No telescope is needed. Just gaze up from most anywhere in the world.

All five planets will appear together until Feb. 20. For a decent shot at spotting Mercury, it's best to look next week or the beginning of February.

Astronomers put optimal viewing at 45 minutes before sunrise. Any earlier, Mercury will be low on the horizon. The five planets will be together again in August—and again in 2020—but Mercury will be even harder to see.

Explore further: All five bright planets come together in the morning sky

Related Stories

All five bright planets come together in the morning sky

January 15, 2016

For the first time in more than 10 years, it will be possible to see all five bright planets together in the sky. Around an hour or so before sunrise, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, the five planets that have been ...

STAR TRAK for May 2011

May 6, 2011

The closest gathering of four bright planets in decades will be on display low in the eastern sky before dawn during May.

Planets party in the morning April 28-May 1

April 26, 2011

Set your alarm clocks for an early treat about a half an hour before sunrise on Thursday April 28 through Sunday, May 1, 2011, as there will be a planetary delight in store! Go out and with either a pair of binoculars, a ...

Tracking the night sky for January 2015

January 5, 2015

Jupiter will dominate the night during January from the time it rises until dawn, soaring high across the sky in the constellation Leo the Lion about 10 degrees northwest of Leo's brightest star, Regulus.

Recommended for you

Video: A colorful 'landing' on Pluto

January 20, 2017

What would it be like to actually land on Pluto? This movie was made from more than 100 images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft over six weeks of approach and close flyby in the summer of 2015. The video offers a trip ...

Freeze-dried food and 1 bathroom: 6 simulate Mars in dome

January 20, 2017

Crammed into a dome with one bathroom, six scientists will spend eight months munching on mostly freeze-dried foods—with a rare treat of Spam—and have only their small sleeping quarters to retreat to for solace.

Image: Wavemaker moon Daphnis

January 20, 2017

The wavemaker moon, Daphnis, is featured in this view, taken as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made one of its ring-grazing passes over the outer edges of Saturn's rings on Jan. 16, 2017. This is the closest view of the small ...

The evolution of massive galaxy clusters

January 20, 2017

Galaxy clusters have long been recognized as important laboratories for the study of galaxy formation and evolution. The advent of the new generation of millimeter and submillimeter wave survey telescopes, like the South ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.