Five brightest planets gather in pre-dawn sky for heavenly show

The moon and all the bright planets are gathered close to the sun. This is what you would see if the Earth’s atmosphere didn’t scatter sunlight.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Our five closest planetary neighbors are putting on a heavenly show.

Starting this week, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are gathering together in the pre-dawn sky. It’s the first time these five planets have converged like this in more than a decade. No telescope is needed. Just gaze up from most anywhere in the world.

All five planets will appear together until Feb. 20. For a decent shot at spotting Mercury, it’s best to look next week or the beginning of February.

Astronomers put optimal viewing at 45 minutes before sunrise. Any earlier, Mercury will be low on the horizon. The five planets will be together again in August — and again in 2020 — but Mercury will be even harder to see.

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