Five planets line up in the sky: How best to spot the sky's spectacular sights over the next month

Every morning for the next month, you can see one of the sky’s most spectacular sights. Here’s how to actually do it

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The Independent Online

The five planets visible with the naked eye are lining up in the sky this month — something that hasn’t happened for a decade.

If you’re lucky, and time it right, then you can manage to spot all of the five planets at the same time.

Robin Scagell, vice-president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, explains how best to spot them:

  • Get up early and make sure you have a clear view to the south east or south.

  • The planets will be visible with the naked eye, though better views will be through a telescope or powerful binoculars.

  • The five planets will be strung out in a line stretching from the horizon, from the south east to the south west, in the order of Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter.

  • Some bright stars will also be visible, including Antares and Spica, but the planets will be brightest things to see.

  • Observing the stars will be best between 7am and 7.30am each morning, with those in southern areas having to look a bit earlier than those in the north because it gets light about 15 minutes earlier in the south.

  • Jupiter and Venus will be brilliant, and Saturn and Mars will be visible between them. Mercury will be the hardest to see because of its position near the horizon.

  • To help people spot them they can follow the general rule that planets do not twinkle, whereas stars do.

Additional reporting by agencies