This Weekend, You Will Be Able To See Five Planets And The Moon Without A Telescope

This Weekend, You Will Be Able To See Five Planets And The Moon Without A Telescope

"Step outside early in the morning, at least an hour before sunrise, to witness this magical celestial event."

Image Source: Getty Images/Chakarin Wattanamongkol

It is just so therapeutic to stare at the sky and count the stars while your worries slip away. Well, with the ongoing pandemic and certain restrictions, physical events aren't really possible, so the only events to look forward to are the celestial kind. This Sunday, July 19th, is quite an eventful day as one can see five planets–Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn–and the crescent moon, all before sunrise, as they will be visible in the sky at the same time. According to CNET, about 45 minutes before sunrise is when you'll be able to see the five planets and the crescent moon. 


Jeffrey Hunt, an astronomy educator, and former planetarium director wrote about the event on his blog 'When The Curves Line Up'. He's mentioned how one can get the best view of the rare occurrence. "Step outside early in the morning, at least an hour before sunrise," Hunt said. "Find the four bright planets -- Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter. They look like overly bright stars. Brilliant Venus is low in the east-northeast. Mars is the lone 'star' in the southeast, and Jupiter and Saturn are the stars in the southwest. To your eyes, they won't look like the photos made by spacecraft, just overly bright stars."


While it's easy to spot the event with the naked eye, Mercury might be a bit hard to find, so Hunt suggests the best thing to do would be to use binoculars and look for the first planet in the solar system 45 minutes before sunrise. Hunt even offers tips for finding each planet. Venus, he says, will "blaze in the eastern sky." The thin crescent moon will be very low in the east-northeast part of the sky, and will only be about 1 percent illuminated. He adds that binoculars will help here, too. Mercury will be to the right of the moon, Mars will be about halfway up in the sky in the south-southeast, Jupiter will be just above the horizon in the southwest, and Saturn will be to the upper left of Jupiter.


If all of this seems a bit too intimidating for you, then you could seek some technological help. "Google Sky, Night Sky, and Star Walk are apps that may help early risers locate the planets in the sky," Hunt says. This event will be visible in both the hemispheres, however, from the south of the equator, Mars is in the northwest rather than the southeast. If you can't make it on Sunday, there's no need to worry. You can see the five planets for a few more mornings after July 19th, but you won't be able to see the moon with the planets. "On successive mornings, look 3-4 minutes earlier each day," Hunt advises. "You may catch (the five planets) in the sky until about July 25." If at all you do miss the whole event, you'll have to wait till late June 2022. 


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