Don't Miss A Great View of Three Planets In January
Go outside and look up.
Mid-January is a great time to spot some planets, weather permitting. Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter will all show up close to the Moon and shine brightly over the next week. They should be easy to find and well worth taking a moment to go outside and look up.
Tomorrow morning, early birds can wake up to one of the best views of Mercury all year. Mercury will appear farther in the sky from the Sun than usual, making it easier to spot. This happens a few times a year, and it’s worth getting up early to catch a glimpse of our Solar System’s innermost planet. Look in the southeastern sky about an hour and a half before dawn on Friday morning, January 12.
If evening stargazing fits your schedule better — or if gas giants are more your thing — look for Saturn just after sunset on Saturday and Sunday nights, January 13 and 14. On Saturday evening, Saturn will appear just above the Moon and slightly to the left, and on Sunday evening, the ringed planet will appear just to the lower right of the Moon. You should be able to see it with the unaided eye on both nights, but a good telescope may let you spot more detail. Either way, make sure you time it right; Saturn will set about two hours after dark.
Our Solar System’s largest and best planet, Jupiter, makes a special guest appearance next Wednesday and Thursday, January 17 and 18: Look to the left of the Moon and slightly above it on January 17, and just below the Moon and slightly to the right on January 18.