All 5 Bright Planets To Be Visible From Earth At The Same Time

Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter will align for first time in a decade.

01/17/2016 10:49 am ET | Updated Jan 18, 2016
  • Lee Moran Trends Editor, The Huffington Post

The solar system is all set to give a rare celestial show.

Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter will all be visible from Earth when they appear in a diagonal row before dawn on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

It's the first time the five bright planets, so called as they can usually be seen easily with the naked eye, have aligned in such a way in more than 10 years, reports EarthSky.org.

The phenomenon will continue every early morning until Feb. 20.

Doug Murray/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The five brightest planets visible from Earth are photographed April 22, 2002. At top-most left is Jupiter, below and to the right is a star, directly below at the mid-point of the photo is Saturn, below and left of Saturn is the red star Aldebaran, diagonally to the right is Mars, then moving toward the horizon are Venus and Mercury (just inside the warmth of the sunset).

"Essentially a quirk of the universe," Dr. Alan Duffy, a research fellow at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, told Australian Geographic about the formation. And with the five planets on different yearly cycles, he added their alignment was "something well worth seeing."

Jupiter will rise first, followed by the red-tinted Mars, golden-looking Saturn, brightest planet Venus and lastly Mercury. Exact timings will vary each day and depend on where you are located.

The Washington Post reports that, if you look south from D.C. before dawn on Sunday, Jan. 24, then Mercury will be closest to the eastern horizon, while Jupiter will loiter in the west-southwest.

But don't panic, there are a host of stargazing apps to help you figure out exactly where to look and which planet is which. Just hope it's not cloudy.

Steve Allen/Getty Images
The order of the planets and dwarf planet Pluto from the Sun can be easily remembered with the mnemonic, "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas."

The waning moon will also sweep past the planets from Jan. 27 to Feb. 6, according to the Coachella Valley Independent.

Astronomers last got the chance to see the planets in a similar line-up between Dec. 15, 2004 and Jan. 15, 2005.

The next time the planets align is predicted to be in the evening sky from Aug. 13 to 19, according to EarthSky.org, but Mercury and Venus will sit low and not be easily seen from the northern hemisphere. 

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