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Posted: January 20, 2016

When, where and how to see 5 planets visible from Earth

This week in space news...


            When, where and how to see 5 planets visible from Earth
MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 20: A woman uses a telescope to look into the sky during a partial solar eclipse outside the Planetario on March 20, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. In Madrid the moon was scheduled to cover approximately 65 percent of the sun for a short period starting at approximately 9:05am. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

By Cox Media Group National Content Desk

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Get your telescopes ready.

Beginning Jan. 20, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter will all be visible from Earth at the same time.

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The occurrence is being called a "rare celestial spectacle," and it is the first time in more than 10 years that all five planets will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye. 

Here's what you need to know to see it:

When can I see the planets from Earth?

The five planets will be visible each morning from Jan. 20 to Feb. 20.  

EarthSky reports people living in the mid-to-northern latitudes can see Mercury best about an hour and half before dawn. In the Southern Hemisphere, it's about two hours before sunrise. Either way, Feb. 7 is expected to be the best day for viewing our solar system's closest planet to the sun.

If you miss it this time, don't worry. The next five-planet showing will happen again in August

Where can I see them?

You can see them from anywhere! Just remember to point your attention to the east.

How can I see them?

Use this trick: Look up in the sky, stretch out your arm and create a fist with your thumb pointing up. Then pass your thumb slowly across what you think is the planet. If the star or planet winks out – goes completely black really quick – then it was a star. If it dims out, then it's a planet.

"For Mercury you will need binoculars," Jason Kendall, a board member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York told the New York Times. "It will not jump out at you, but everybody should be able to see Venus and Jupiter.”

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