As we wrap up our In the Sky inquiry, many of our classes are looking beyond our planet and into the stars. Approaching the end of January and into early February, all 5 visible planets will be in the sky in either the morning or night! Here are some tips for enjoying this celestial sight:

What are you looking for?

The five planets closest to us are bright enough to be easily seen in the night sky with the naked eye. For that reason, these are collectively known as the five visible planets. From closest to the sun, outwards, the five visible planets are:

  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • [Earth]
  • Mars
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
ESO/Y. Beletsky –

When should you look?

A great resource is available here. You can also download great apps for your tablet or smartphone to find out what time you should head outside!

What will this look like?

You will notice the 5 bright planets from Left to Right (in the order listed above) on the horizon. They will look like bright stars. It may be very helpful to download a live star map app (like Sky Map or Star Chart) and use your mobile device to help identify which planets are which!

Quick Hints:

-Mercury will be in the lower southeast corner of the horizon.

-Venus will be the biggest and brightest.

-Further right, Saturn may appear to have a yellowish tint.

-Mars will look like a reddish-orange star.

-Jupiter will be to the upper right corner. Bonus: if you have binoculars, you may be able to see Jupiter’s four moons!

Enjoy great opportunities to view the stars and planets all throughout the year as a family!