Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Planet(s)

5 planets visible but not at the same time.

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Stargazers will see a rare sight over the next few weeks -- planets -- five of them to be exact will be visible with the naked eye in the night sky.

Many of the planets are visible on what is called the elliptic -- the apparent path the sun and moon take as they move through the sky.

When looking for the planets look along that path to locate them. Although they are called naked-eye planets since you can see them without the aide of optics, a simple pair of binoculars or telescope would really enhance the viewing. 


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For reference in the following guide sunrise is just after 6:30 a.m. and sunset occurs just before 6:00 p.m.

1. Venus

They only reason you will miss Venus is if it's cloudy. Look west just after sunset for the brightest object in the sky, third only to the sun and moon.

Venus is so bright that even before sunset you will start to see the planet. The planet will set in about three hours after sunset but you should have no trouble locating Venus since it's as bright as it can possibly get.

If you still have trouble finding Venus then just wait until February 27 when it will be joined with the new crescent moon.

2. Saturn

Look to the East about an hour and a half after sunset when the planet will appear above the horizon in the eastern sky. Saturn will be near the constellation Leo and has a yellow-white color.

If you have a good pair of binoculars or a quality telescope you will see the rings and moons of the planet. The rings will look like they cut through the planet. 

Early March will be the best time to see Saturn -- it's at opposition, which means it's as close to Earth as it can be. 

On March 10 it will be right near the full moon.

3 - 5. Mercury, Jupiter and Mars

To see Mercury, Jupiter and Mars you will have to set your alarm clock and get up a little before sunrise.

Look in the eastern sky to view the three planets but get to a place with a good field of view. About 30 minutes before sunrise Jupiter and Mercury will be low in the eastern sky -- Mercury will be just a little above and to the right of Jupiter.

Mars is a little brighter but is visible about an hour before sunrise.

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