By TOMMY BROOKSBANK, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — If you’re looking to watch something out of this world while quarantined at home, turn off the TV and look up at the sky.
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are all visible to the naked eye across the continental United States for the next two weeks, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed in a statement to ABC News.
“We’re very lucky to have such an eye-catching lineup this summer,” Dr. Laura Danly, curator at Griffith Observatory, said. “We tend to take for granted all this stuff that is going on over our heads, but if you tune in you can see our solar system at work.”
It’s going to take a little effort to catch the celestial beauty unless you’re an early riser. All five planets appear within the hour before dawn only, very low in the east. You’ll need a clear view of the horizon, and a pair of binoculars wouldn’t hurt to spot Mercury. A comet will also be visible without a telescope.
Starting the 15th #cometNEOWISE may be visible in the evenings! (~9:30pm)
Plus #Venus, #Mars, #Jupiter, #Saturn, & the #Moon… so much to observe in the sky this week. @AnthonyJCook2 has your weekly Sky Report, now available every Friday. Listen here:https://t.co/ASwMMQERXp pic.twitter.com/dvkD3nR5Zz
— All Space Considered at Griffith Observatory (@AllSpaceCnsdrd) July 10, 2020
The event is not unheard of but somewhat rare — mostly due to Mercury’s close orbit to the sun, which will obscure the planet at the end of the month. What is particularly noteworthy about the current alignment is how close four of the five planets — Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — are to each other.
“Usually they’re more spread out,” Danly explained. “To get all four visible like that is a very beautiful sight.”
Mercury will be gone by the end of the month, but the other four planets will be marching across the sky all summer long.
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