Skip to main content

High five: Planets line up for rare show just before sunrise

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A rare celestial lineup is visible for the next few weeks for those who know when and where to look.

From now through Feb. 20, planets will appear in the night sky one at a time until – just before the morning twilight kicks in – five of them will be visible at the same time with the naked eye, NASA says.

It'll be a little like a slow-motion introduction of an astronomical basketball team.

The biggest planet, Jupiter, will appear first during the evening. It'll be followed after midnight by Mars. Then Saturn, Venus, and finally, just above the horizon in the southeast, Mercury will round out the lineup.

The Minnesota Astronomical Society says in our area the best time to see all five will be from 6:30 to 6:45 a.m. Spotting Mercury will be the toughest, they say, and will require an unobstructed view of the southeast horizon just before it gets light.

https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaAstronomicalSociety/photos/a.221452764660716.1073741825.134620050010655/621431671329488/?type=3&theater

National Geographic says the planets will all look like bright stars (not quite like the image below) with Mars, of course, being reddish and Saturn yellow-colored. Using a telescope should allow you to see Saturn's rings and maybe some of its moons.

https://twitter.com/NatGeo/status/690603603220889600

The moon will also be part of the show through Feb. 7, astronomers say.

It's been more than a decade since all of these planets were visible at the same time, NASA says. You won't have to wait that long for it to happen again, though. They'll be lined up in the evening sky from late July through mid-August, but NASA says it will be hard to see Mercury and Venus from northern latitudes then.

In addition to the five planets and the moon, there'll be a bonus for the next few weeks. The president of the Minnesota Astronomical Society tells the Star Tribune that the former planet Pluto (now called a dwarf planet) will also be visible with a telescope if you look just above Venus.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2023-01-31 at 9.18.37 PM

Bed, Bath & Beyond closing 86 more stores, including in Bloomington

The struggling chain closed a store in St. Cloud last year.

Andy Trowbridge

Tributes to KARE 11 sports producer who has died at age 35

KARE says Andrew Trowbridge died following a 'brief illness.'

LoganSlackDakotaCoJail

Man pleads guilty to murder of Inver Grove Heights father

Michael Chang-Beom Lee, 43, was killed during a burglary at his home.

Eggs at Hy-Vee

Price comparison: How much do eggs cost at Twin Cities grocery stores?

Prices have been spiking, so where can you find the cheapest eggs?

KwonFloodFOX9

FOX 9 promotes Hannah Flood to anchor, adds new reporter

Hannah Flood will co-anchor mornings while Se Kwon joins the team.

Carjacking pursuit in Little Canada

Watch: Suspects drive wrong-way on I-35E, before carjacking separate vehicles

The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office said the suspects are still at large.

RestaurantFireSTP

St. Paul restaurant damaged in Sunday night fire

The fire department said the fire is considered to be "accidental."

Lake Superior.

MPCA: Minnesota's emissions fell by 23% between 2005 and 2020

Clean energy investments have driven the decline.

Dave Durenberger

Former U.S. Senator for Minnesota Dave Durenberger dies at 88

Durenberger served two terms before his disgraceful exit in the mid-1990s.

Related

Mercury

Rare chance to see 5 planets with the naked eye June 24

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be aligned and most visible in the night sky on June 24.