[The Epoch Times, December 26, 2022](Compiled and reported by Epoch Times reporter Linda) All the planets in the solar system have recently gathered in the night sky to end 2022 with a spectacular performance.
In the next few days, people will be able to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn simultaneously with the naked eye, while Uranus and Neptune will be visible with binoculars or a telescope.
Gianluca Masi, an astronomer with the Virtual Telescope Project, told Newsweek: “On recent nights, shortly after sunset, we can see all the planets in the solar system at a glance. Occasionally It happens, but it’s spectacular every time.”
Plus, after December 24, the Moon will be visible from anywhere on Earth if the sky is clear.
From the southwestern horizon, the planets visible to the naked eye will be in the following order: Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars. Mercury will be the hardest planet to observe because it is in the brighter part of the sky. While it’s still visible to the naked eye, Mercury and Venus are much easier to see with binoculars.
One also needs binoculars to find Uranus, which lies between Mars and Jupiter, and Neptune, which lies between Saturn and Jupiter. “This way, we can see entire families of planets,” Massey said.
This “planetary parade” doesn’t happen very often, but it’s not that rare either—the alignment happens on average every one to two years or so.
The last time all the planets were in the sky at the same time was in June of this year. At that time, five planets visible to the naked eye also lined up in the sky, in exactly the same order as they orbited the Sun—namely, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. A connection like this hasn’t happened in 18 years.
During this event, Uranus and Neptune are also visible with binoculars, but they are not in order of increasing distance from the Sun.
The current “planetary parade” will run until the end of the year, when Mercury will disappear, so you’ll only have a few days to catch a glimpse.
If people prefer to view the event from the comfort of their own homes, the Virtual Telescope Project (www.virtualtelescope.eu) will provide a live broadcast showing the many planets and moon above the skyline as seen from Rome.
The Virtual Telescope Project is operated by the Bellatrix Observatory in Ceccano, Italy, providing remote access to the telescope.
The live broadcast over the Christmas period is scheduled to begin at 4pm. That’s 11 a.m. ET on December 28. ◇
Responsible editor: Li Qiong#