Five Planets Visible to The Naked Eye Now Through Mid-February 2016
Ever since I was a child, I have always been intrigued by the night sky. I loved looking up at the sky and trying to pinpoint the other planets in our solar system. This morning I found myself getting up earlier than normal to witness a rare occurrence that's been happening in our solar system since Jan. 20, 2016 and will occur each morning until the middle of February. This week you can get the best view of seeing five of our planets aligned in the predawn sky just before sunrise between 6-7AM. The moon is now sweeping past the planets making it easier for you to identify them. Just before dawn look toward the southeast and you will be able to see Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. This celestial event hasn't occurred since Dec. 15, 2005 and will occur one more time in August of this year. If you want to use a telescope for a better view feel free to do so but it's not necessary. The planets are visibly brighter due to the reflection of the rising sun. Be sure to use the waning crescent moon to guide you to Mercury (and Venus) on February 5 and February 6. Just in case you wondering if there is going to be some type of apocalyptic event due the alignment, don't worry.
I think sometime if I wouldn't have followed my path to a radio career, I would have been chasing stars as a astronomer. But instead I talk to the stars, country stars. All I can say, in the immortal words of Spock, "Fascinating."
To find out more about this rare phenomenon visit EarthSky.org.