On Sunday 19 July 2020, people will be able to see five planets appear simultaneously in the sky before the sunrise along with a crescent moon. The five planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will appear about two hours before sunrise, so you might want to set your alarm pretty early. These planets will be visible to the naked eye but to see Mercury, you will need a telescope or binoculars. Jupiter and Saturn will be the first planets to appear, with Jupiter planned to look brighter than ever in the right corner.
According to planet observers, Mars will be visible as a curved line going through Jupiter and Saturn. Venus will be easy to spot as well as it will look extra bright in the night sky that night. Mercury will be the planet harder to spot. According to reports, Mercury will be visible 45 minutes before the sunrise in the northeast.
The sight will be visible in both the northern and southern hemisphere.
“Step outside early in the morning, at least an hour before sunrise,” Jeffrey Hunt, an astronomy educator and former planetarium director told CNET. “Find the four bright planets—Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. They look like overly bright stars. Brilliant Venus is low in the east-northeast. Mars is the lone ‘star’ in the southeast, and Jupiter and Saturn are the stars in the southwest. To your eyes, they won’t look like the photos made by spacecraft, just overly bright stars.”
For newbie stargazers, you might want to use apps such as Google Sky, Night Sky or Star Walk to help you locate the planets in the sky.
In the East, stargazers should have a clear view of the horizon where the planets will appear very low. This is a rare occasion because of Mercury’s close orbit to the sun. How close together the four bright planets will be is noteworthy. We’ll next get to see this gathering in late June 2022, Hunt told CNET.
Last month, in June, people were able to witness another rare occurrence as a solar eclipse happened on the same day as the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year. The eclipse started in the morning and was visible until 3 p.m. It was visible from Asia, Africa, the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and some parts of Europe and Australia.
This Sunday is bound to be another stargazing moment to remember, so make sure you don’t miss it. But don’t worry, if you’ve snoozed your alarm and never got up, you’ll still be able to see the five planets in the sky for a few additional mornings after 19 July—you just won’t see the moon.