How to See Five Planets in Perfect Alignment This Month


Beginning on Jan. 20, stargazers across America will get to see a truly breathtaking celestial show.

If you’re willing to wake up a little early, you can see Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter in an almost perfect alignment. It will be the first time that these planets appear in a straight line since 2005.

In order to see this incredible spectacle, viewers must head outside an hour to an hour and a half before sunrise. This “sweet spot” of time allows all planets to be visible outside the horizon before the sun drowns out the sky with light.

When looking into the heavens, look for the balls of light that seem to twinkle. Unlike stars, planets have a slight shimmer to them and have a slightly brighter glow. For specific instructions on where to look in the sky, visit Sky & Telescope‘s helpful viewing guide.

If getting out of bed that early seems like a difficult task, there’s good news. You’ll be able to view this rare light show until Feb. 20, so you’ll have plenty more opportunities to sleep in. Still, both scientists and amateur stargazers say this once-in-a-lifetime treat is worth losing a couple hours of sleep for.

NEXT: These Photos of the Milky Way Over Yellowstone Will Leave You Breathless

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How to See Five Planets in Perfect Alignment This Month