Five planets to line up and bring spectacular sights to night sky over next month

The last time there was a space line-up of this magnitude was in 2005 — though it’s coming again this year

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The Independent Online

Five planets have arranged in a neat sky across the dawn sky, and will do every morning for the next month.

All of the five planets that are visible with the naked eye — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter — will be visible at once.

It will be the first time that the spectacle can be seen since 2005, but it will come back again in August.  The strange timings are caused by the fact that the planets need to line up on the “ecliptic” part of their orbit.

The five planets are best seen by heading outside and looking east.  Stargazers are likely to spot Venus first, since it will be brightest, and then the rest should be found by looking from there.

The best time to see them is about 6.45am in the morning, just as the sun comes up. The usual suggestions for spotting things in the sky apply — head somewhere without light pollution and look when the cloud cover isn’t too much.

The five planets will be visible from 20 January, and will last until roughly 20 February. But the best time for seeing the show will be during the last week of January and the first week of February.

While most of the planets will be visible by the naked eye, the best view will probably be had through binoculars. When using them it’s important to make sure not to look towards the sun, since doing so could cause lasting damage.