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ALL PLANETS IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM HAVE ALIGNED, AND THEY ARE VISIBLE IN THE SKY

Currently, the entire solar system may be observed simultaneously in the night sky, providing astronomers with a “spectacular” finale to the year.

In the coming days, it will be possible to observe Uranus and Neptune using binoculars or a telescope, while Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will be visible with the naked eye.

Gianluca Masi, an astronomer with the Virtual Telescope Project, told Newsweek that “we can view all the planets in our solar system at once immediately after sunset.” It occurs infrequently but is always a breathtaking sight.

After December 24, the moon will join the spectacle, which, assuming clear skies, will be visible from every location on Earth.

Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars are the planets that may be viewed with the naked eye, beginning in the southwest. Mercury will be the most difficult planet to find due to its location in a bright region of the sky.

Even if the planet might be seen with the naked eye, binoculars may be required to locate it and Venus.

Neptune, which is located between Saturn and Jupiter, and Uranus, which is located between Mars and Jupiter, also require binoculars.

In this way, Masi explained, “we are able to observe the entire planetary family.”

This “planetary procession” does not occur frequently, but it is not as rare as you might assume; on average, it occurs every one to two years.

In June of this year, all planets were simultaneously visible in the sky. During this show, the five visible planets — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn — were aligned in the sky in the same chronological order as they physically orbit the sun. Similar alignment had not occurred in the past 18 years.

Uranus and Neptune were also visible using binoculars at this event, although they were not oriented in order of decreasing solar distance.

Mercury will vanish before the end of the year, so you only have a few days to catch a glimpse of the most recent planetary procession.

If you wish to view the sight from the comfort of your own home, the Virtual Telescope Project will provide a live stream displaying the planets and the moon over the Rome skyline.

Masi operates the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Ceccano, Italy, which offers the Virtual Telescope Project as a service. This project administers and provides access to robotic, remotely controlled telescopes.

The Christmas live stream will begin on December 28 at 4:00 UTC, or 11:00 AM EST.


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