Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Spectacular Planetary Quintet Will Glow across the Predawn Sky

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Spectacular Planetary Quintet Will Glow across the Predawn Sky

Article excerpt

If you're up before the sun later this week you might catch a glimpse of a planetary alignment the likes of which hasn't been seen for a decade.

Five bright planets will line up across the dawn sky appearing as a quintet when Mercury rises around 6:15 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, according to The Washington Post. Mercury will join Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter already scattered across the morning sky. The five will continue to be visible before dawn through late January and into February.

To have all five visible planets in view together is a rarity. Each planet is a different distance from the sun and has different length years. The last time they aligned was in 2005.

Although the planets are all in different locations in the sky, they do one thing the same. "The line formed by the planets in the sky closely follows the ecliptic, the apparent path of the sun against the background stars," Tanya Hill, senior curator at the Melbourne Planetarium in Australia, writes in an article for The Conversation. …

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