Alarm clock at 4 o’clock, because there are 5 planets in a row to see

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. In that order they can be seen at about 5 o’clock. In one line, that doesn’t happen often. The last time was in 2004.

Alarm clock at 4 o’clock

“You often see several planets, but not often so close to each other,” says meteorologist Magdel Erasmus of Buienradar. That’s because the planets all have very different orbits around the sun. Jupiter logically takes a lot longer to make a round than Mercury, which is a lot closer to the sun. “Now the orbits of the planets converge in the night sky.”

To be able to observe the phenomenon yourself, the alarm clock has to be set really early. Around 4 o’clock is not a superfluous luxury, if you want to have a cup of coffee with it. Moreover, it is not much later already light. And then there is nothing left to see.

What to do if you don’t know anything about it

Okay, here’s a quick guide to what you should do tonight if you’re not a specialist, but want to participate:

  • Walk out and set down your seat heading east (slightly southeast) around 4:30 am
  • Find a place without much lighting around you, and watch out for trees (they block the horizon)
  • Grab your binoculars that you put in your bag next to your thermos and start searching
  • Look for Saturn’s ring (which can only be seen with your binoculars and is highest in the sky)
  • Search in an oblique line toward the horizon in the order in the image above this article (towards the bottom left from Saturn)

The awkward thing about the starry sky is that there will be a lot of other twinkling stars. Difficult for your search, but that’s the way it is. The planets are recognizable if you persevere a bit.

Mercury late (or not) visible

Jupiter, for example, is slightly larger and very bright, says Erasmus van Buienradar. Erasmus: “Mars has a red glow and Venus is the brightest star.” Good to know: the moon is somewhere between Mars and Venus. That offers some guidance.

Whether you can complete the entire line of five planets is questionable. Mercury is hard to spot. The planet is small, only slightly rises above the horizon and, above all, is only visible when it starts to get dark again.

Not much of a chance, then, but Erasmus doesn’t rule it out completely either: “If you stick to the oblique line, you may be able to see Mercury.”

Source: RTL Nieuws by

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