Skip to content
Four planets will line up in the sky this month.  Here’s how to spot them.

Skywatchers expect a cosmic treat this month: a rare alignment of four planets in the predawn sky.

Starting around Sunday morning, astronomers will be able to see Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn appear in a straight line in the southeastern sky before sunrise. The mid-month alignment is a relatively unusual opportunity for people to see multiple planets in the sky with the naked eye – and it’s a prelude to an even rarer planetary alignment that will occur this summer.

To see the planetary quartet, northern hemisphere skywatchers should exit about an hour before sunrise and look southeast, in the direction of sunrise.

Looking east at a flat horizon, Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn will appear “strung in a line across the morning sky,” according to NASA. If conditions are clear, all four planets will be bright enough to see with the naked eye, without the aid of binoculars or telescopes.

The same alignment is visible before sunrise in the southern hemisphere. There, the sun’s path across the sky is at a steeper angle to the horizon, relative to the northern hemisphere, which means the chain of planets will run higher above the sunrise point. sun.

Either way, Jupiter will be the second-brightest planet in the celestial gathering but will appear lowest on the horizon, which could make it difficult to spot. That will change over the month, according to NASA.

“As we approach the last week of April, Jupiter will be high enough above the horizon in the hour before sunrise to be more easily observed,” the space agency said in its monthly summary. sky observation tips.

Although this month’s skywatching event makes the planets appear to form a neat line in space, it’s actually just a matter of perspective. Every planet in the solar system orbits the sun on the same flat plane, which means that when they occasionally cross in their orbits, they appear to form a straight line in Earth’s sky. This orderly positioning, however, would be very different from any other vantage point in space.

The planets will be visible in the pre-dawn sky all month, and April’s alignment will set the stage for an even more spectacular skywatching event this summer.

From late June to early July, five planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – will be visible in the sky before sunrise in a major alignment that only happens every few years.

nbcnews Gt

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.