Just in time for the New Year, every planet in the sky will be aligning. Throughout the next few days, you will be able to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, all with the naked eye.
If you’d like to also see Uranus and Neptune, you only need some binoculars or a good telescope. “These nights, we can see all the planets of our solar system at a glance, soon after sunset,” astronomer Gianluca Masi explained to Newsweek. “It happens from time to time, but it is always a spectacular sight.”
Since December 24th, the moon has also appeared in the line-up, adding even more beautiful value to this spectacular site. Beginning on the South-Western horizon, the naked eye planets can be seen in the order of Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. However, Mercury will be the most difficult to see as it is in the bright part of the sky. But, binoculars can most certainly sort this out for you. Binoculars also make it easier to view Uranus. “This way, we can see the entire planetary family,” Masi said.
While this did happen earlier this year, this is not the norm. It is a very rare experience, so if you can, get to view it. Just for some perspective, this has not occurred in 18 years. Thankfully, you will be ab;e to see this throughout the end of the year, with Mercury fading around the first. For those who just cannot deal with the cold, don’t despair, you can check it out on the Virtual Telescope Project’s site.
The Virtual Telescope Project is provided by the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Ceccana, Italy, and is managed by Masi. The ‘Christmas’ live feed is scheduled for 4:PM UTC or 11 AM Eastern Time on December 28th.