Channel your inner science geek: Starting tomorrow (January 20), you’ll have the chance to catch a view of all five “naked-eye” planets at once. This is a big deal. Here, we’ll explain.
What the heck is a “naked-eye” planet? It’s simple, really. They’re the planets that you can easily see with the naked eye--Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter--no telescope or binoculars required.
But if they’re visible to the naked eye, why is tomorrow a big deal? This is the first time in over a decade that all five planets have appeared together at once, according to Sky and Telescope.
Cool, but what time can I see them? Here’s the tricky part: You need to wake up about 45 minutes before dawn to scan the sky. (To find out what time sunrise is in your neck of the woods, you can use this easy tool.) Also, tomorrow is just the beginning--all five should be around for about three weeks.
I’m not an astronomer. How will I know where to look? Download an astronomy app like SkyView to your iPhone, then point it at the sky and it’ll help you identify the planets, one by one (no Wi-Fi required).
We’ve also heard rumors about a comet? You’ve heard right. Comet Catalina is expected to make its first (and last) appearance in our solar system later this week just before dawn, passing by at a safe distance of 67 million miles away. The bad news? Spotting this guy requires binoculars.