See Five Planets in the Hudson Valley Sky Without a Telescope This Week
You won't need a telescope to see an incredible sight over the Hudson Valley that won't happen again until 2040.
Did you ever have a really great week that felt like all the planets are aligning? Well, this week that's literally what's happening. According to NASA, this week there will be a pretty spectacular sight over the Hudson Valley. Five planets will be visible with the naked eye over the horizon and on Friday the moon will make an extra special appearance in the lineup that will make for an incredible viewing opportunity.
During our yearly summer vacation at the beach, our family loves gazing up at the stars overhead. On a clear July night, it's pretty easy to make out Venus, Mars and Jupiter. While it's common to catch a planet or two in the sky, it's pretty rare to see five planets all lined up at once.
The parade of planets has been visible in the early morning hours for a while now, but this month things get very interesting when the moon pops into the picture to fill in for Earth.
On Friday morning at just about 45 minutes before sunrise, you'll be able to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in a diagonal line just above the horizon. The moon will be positioned right between Venus and Mars, substituting for Earth in the lineup of planets.
If you want to look for this rare sight for yourself, you'll need to get up a bit earlier on Friday and have a clear view of the southeast sky. As of now, it looks like clouds from the Thursday rains are expected to break up to give the Hudson Valley optimal viewing conditions.
The planets will be most visible just after 4am when they're lined up over the horizon. The easiest planet to spot is Venus which will be the brightest light in the sky. Mercury will be very faint below it, but you should easily be able to make out Jupiter, which will help you locate Mars and Saturn to either of its sides on the diagonal line. The planets and the moon will all be visible in a cluster until 45 minutes or so before sunrise, which is at 5:22am.on Friday.
Although you won't need a telescope to see the planets if you have one you'll be able to make out some great details. Depending on the weather you could be able to make out the rings around Saturn and the moons of Jupiter.
If you miss the lineup of planets this week, the good news is that they'll be visible for the next few weeks, slowly spreading further apart through the middle of July.