5 planets to be visible to the naked eye in a rare planetary alignment
End of January has brought a sky show for the star gazers as all five planets visible to the naked eye -Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn -have aligned in southern sky for nearly a fortnight starting January 22 before the sunrise. Several city-based groups have made plans for group viewing of the spectacle.
The full moon night would be observed on January 24, but the moon would not create trouble in viewing the planets.While they can be viewed with the naked eye, a binocular or telescope would be better, at least for viewing Mercury.
The best chance to see them: Look eastward between 6:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. just before twilight, according to the Minnesota Astronomical Society.
The planets form a string starting with Mercury closest to the southeastern horizon, then Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. Clayton Lindsey, president of the Minnesota Astronomical Society, notes that Uranus and Neptune can’t be seen because they rise during the day.
The hardest planet to see will be Mercury as it pops up just before twilight gets too bright. Binoculars would be useful in cutting through the light pollution and haze to locate Mercury.