ORANGE COUNTY, CA — If you’re not an early riser, Sunday is the day to make an exception should you want to see five planets appear simultaneously in the night sky over California cities.
In a rare display, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will all be visible to the naked eye.
How early should you get up to view the event?
Set your alarm for two hours before sunrise to catch the best view of Jupiter sinking in the southwestern sky with Saturn just above and to the right, according to Travel and Leisure magazine.
Trace a curved line through both planets into the southern sky and you’ll hit Mars high above the southeastern horizon.
To see Venus and Mercury, trace Mars’ curve down to the horizon in the northeast. Before you get there, you’ll easily spot Venus, one of the brightest objects in the night sky.
Mercury is a bit more elusive. If your timing is right, the planet will rise in the northeast 45 minutes before sunrise as seen from New York City. You’re looking for a small, red dot, and a pair of binoculars would be good to have on hand.
Keep those binoculars for a bonus glimpse of Jupiter’s four largest moons — Europa, Ganymede, Io and Callisto.
In Southern California, the sun will rise at 5:52 a.m. Sunday.
In Northern California, the sun will rise at 6:01 a.m. Sunday.
Best viewing will be just before 4 a.m., according to the report, barring marine layer on our coast.
If you’re hoping to spot all eight planets in the sky at the same time, sadly, it’s not possible. Uranus and Neptune aren’t quite visible to the naked eye and require a telescope.
Also, be sure to pencil in a special date between these five planets.
Just over 20 years from now, on Sept. 8, 2040, there will be a "Great Conjunction" or "Golden Conjunction" — when Mars, Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter will be visible in the same tiny patch of the night sky, just 10 degrees apart.
Where do you suppose you'll be in 204o? Hopefully, coronavirus will be a distant memory! Stay safe, all and happy planet viewing!