Did you miss the planet parade on January 2? It’s okay. There is another astronomy show coming for you this month. Know when you can see five planets together above the Earth.
On January 2, the Earth witnessed a rare event where all the seven planets in the solar system were visible at the same time from the Earth. If you had access to a clear sky without pollution, you could just look at the sky without the need of binoculars and telescopes and see the planets shining brightly across the sky. But, if you missed out on it, not all hope is lost. There is yet another opportunity for you towards the end of this month where you can see five planets — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — together. So, let out the astronomy enthusiast within you and enjoy the new planet parade. Read on for details.
Five planet parade to occur in late January
The five planet parade will be preceded by an equally rare event of Venus-Saturn conjunction. For the unaware, a planetary conjunction is an event that occurs when two or more planets appear close together in the sky as seen from the Earth. This can happen when the planets are in alignment with the Earth and the Sunor when they are on opposite sides of the Sun.
While conjunctions between the inner planets (Mercury and Venus) and the outer planets (Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) are relatively common, conjunctions between inner and outer planets together is a relatively rare occurrence. This event will be visible between January 18 to January 24 when the two planets will be visible together above the horizon to the southwest after sunset.
While you can see Mercury, Mars and Saturn in the sky during this time, the best viewing of the planet parade will be between January 25 and January 30 when the Moon will be above Saturn and Venus and just a degree apart from Jupiter. You can see four out of the five planets without the need for any optical instruments. But Mercury may not be visible without a pair of binoculars or a backyard telescope.
Do note, to be able to see this spectacle in the sky, you will require a cloudless sky with no light pollution. People living in cities might need to move to the outskirts in order to enjoy this event.