Rare celestial show: 5 planets to be visible at once from Singapore

Rare celestial show: 5 planets to be visible at once from Singapore
Mercury makes its first appearance on Thursday, January 21. It's very low on the horizon though, so you will definitely need a clear view to the east! Photo via Science Centre Observatory Facebook
Published: 1:17 PM, January 20, 2016
Updated: 7:43 PM, February 7, 2016
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SINGAPORE — Singaporeans will be able to view a rare astronomical alignment over the next weeks, with five planets — Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury — set to appear together in the skies for the time in a decade.

The celestial conjunction will last from today (Jan 20) until the end of February, with Jan 27 offering an extra special view as the Moon will also come into alignment with the five planets.

The best timing to see all five planets will be around 6am, and the one of the best places will be at East Coast Park, said Science Centre Singapore. The planetary parade can also be viewed from one’s home, if there is a high and unobstructed view to the Eastern horizon. There is no need for a telescope, but as Mercury will be very low on the horizon tomorrow, binoculars may be required.

However, there may be some days, like this morning, where it will be too cloudy to see the planetary alignment.

Dr Cindy Ng, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Physics at the National University of Singapore told TODAY that Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Venus had already been visible in the skies for many days. Mercury, has just become visible as it has moved far enough from the Sun, said Dr Ng.

"Viewing Mercury is always challenging in Singapore as the planet is close to the Sun and faint, and Singapore’s sky is not very dark," she said.

Dr Ng described the planetary alignment as a "special event". 

"Usually, we see the five planets in the night sky at different times of the night. It is thus a special event to observe all five planets in the night sky at one time."

Each night at around midnight, Jupiter will be the first planet that will come into view. Jupiter’s sighting will then be followed by Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury.

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