Entire Solar System visible

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The Independent Online
The moon and the other eight planets of the Solar System are lined up in the sky this week "like pearls on a string" in a sight that won't be visible again from Earth for at least another century.

"It's quite beautiful, an exquisite grouping of the moon and planets," said Jack Horkheimer, executive director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium. Beginning last night and continuing through to 8 December, the planets will appear in the south-western sky in a line slanting upward from the horizon. From west to east, Pluto will be followed by Mercury, Mars, Venus, Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter and Saturn, with a crescent moon alongside.

Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn will be visible to the naked eye, with Venus and Jupiter by far the brightest. A good pair of binoculars will be needed to see the small blue dots that are Uranus and Neptune. Pluto will be visible only by telescope.

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