Try to spot the alignment of the five planets as the moon joins them this weekend!

January_30_2016_alignment

To view a larger image, click here. The event will be visible in the next few weeks, but the best dates to observe are from January 30 to February 6, when the moon joins the alignment. This image shows what the eastern sky should look like on January 30, 2016, at 5:30 am (Image generated using Stellarium).

The alignment of the five planets can be seen from anywhere in the country (and in most parts of the world). It should be visible for as long as you have a clear view of the eastern horizon, and there are no clouds to block your view. It also does not require any special equipment such as telescopes or binoculars. One may simply observe this event from home, from his or her own backyard, using nothing but the eyes.

To view the alignment, simply:

1. Wake up at 5:30 am (your local time) on January 30, 2016.
2. Face east (Silangan). If you do not know where east is, simply use a compass or ask someone to show you the direction where the sun rises (kung saan sumisikat ang araw).
3. Use the map to find the moon first. Once you’ve spotted the moon, it will be very easy to find the rest of the planets.
4. Find the “bright star” to the upper-right of the moon. That “bright star” is actually the planet Jupiter.
5. Find another “bright star” to the lower-left of the moon. That “bright star” is actually the planet Venus.
6. Use the map to find the rest of the planets: Saturn (yellow), Mars (red), and Mercury (white).

The alignment will still be visible in the next few weeks, but the best dates to observe are from January 30 to February 6, when the moon joins them (which makes it easier to locate the planets). As viewed from Earth, the planets and the moon appear to line up, but in reality, they are separated by vast distances.

Keep track of the ‘sky events’ that can be observed from your own backyard! To keep you posted on upcoming astronomical events, click here.
For previous observations, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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