Five planets are moving into alignment early Friday morning, and the best thing about this rare celestial event is that it can be seen in Texas with the naked eye.
In an arc across the morning sky, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will line up for the first since December 2994, according to Sky & Telescope. Find the waning crescent moon — above it and to the right will be Mars and below and to the left is Venus.
The celestial bodies will align in an arc for about a full hour before the sun rises, according to a post in the Travel & Leisure website. The sun rises at 6:45 am Friday. The event should be easily visible on the eastern horizon.
Alignments of the inner planets are more regular occurrences, while the alignment of outer planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – occur far less often, according to StarDate.org, the education and outreach arm of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory.
“About every 100 years or so, six or more planets ‘line up’ and appear together within a small area of the sky,” according to a post on the StarDate.org website. “A well-publicized conjunction of this type occurred May 5, 2000, when the Moon and all of the planets except Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (which was still a planet then) lined up within 15 degrees or so of the Sun. Such gatherings have occurred tens of thousands of times in the past, with no observed physical consequences.”