Astronomers and stargazers in Saskatchewan are going to love what is in store for them over the next few weeks.
According to Sky and Telescope, it is the first time in over a decade that Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter are visible with the naked eye all at the same time. However, Stan Shadick with the engineering and physics department at the University of Saskatchewan believes one of those planets will be tough to see.
“Mercury is even closer to the sun so Mercury would be the last one to rise, and by that time, looking in the southeastern sky, I think Mercury is probably difficult to spot because of the glow of the rising sun,” Shadick told News Talk Radio.
All hope is not lost when it comes to viewing all five planets at once. An article by CNN said you might be able to see Mercury by Jan. 22. It will be a small bright dot between Venus and the horizon.
One of the most-popular questions is, what is the ideal time to see the planets? Shadick recommends about 8 a.m. He also believes heading to a rural spot is best where you have a view of the full southern horizon.
Jupiter will be visible first and as you look left, you will notice Mars, Saturn, Venus, and then possibly Mercury.
“(The four planets) are going to be positioned in a straight line at an angle extending from the lower left to the upper right as you view due south,” said Shadick.
Venus might be a good starting point because it is the brightest planet out of the bunch.
“There are a couple of other bright stars though that sort of complicate the issue. So they’re not quite in that perfectly straight line so if you see some other objects of about the same brightness but just a little bit off of that line then those would be some bright stars.”
If you cannot get enough of viewing the five planets, you might be interested in Comet Catalina. According to NASA, it will pass by Earth at a distance of 67 million miles. You will not be able to see Catalina with your own eyes so it might be a good idea to have some binoculars with you.