Just before dawn on May 9th-12th, a very rare and magical sight will take place for all to see. There will be a cluster of 4 planets which will be visible to all low in the eastern sky. Next to the moon, these planets are the brightest things in the sky and this proximity is a very rare occurance.

Although they are really millions of miles apart, Venus and Jupiter will appear to come within inches of each other. Mars will appear to be a little farther away, on the lower left of the other three planets.

According to the Austin McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas, the best view of the clusters will be seen in the southern states of the U.S. It is also suggested to increase the visibility that binoculars and telescopes could be used because the light of dawn will make it harder to see as it approaches.

Some facts about the planets involved~

Jupiter - is the largest planet in the solar system. Jupiter takes about 12 years to orbit the Sun and rotates in about 10 hours. This short Jupiter "day" is amazing since the planet is roughly 11 Earth diameters wide. It also has 39 moons orbiting it and more are expected to be found in the future.

Mars - is the fourth planet from the Sun in the solar system. It is often referred to as the "Red Planet", as it has a reddish appearance due to the prevalent iron oxide on its surface. It was named after the Roman god of war. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, and resembles Earth somewhat with its surface feature of valleys, deserts, volcanoes and polar ice caps. Mars has 2 moons orbiting it.

Venus - is the second planet from the Sun. It was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Venus is the brightest natural object in the night sky next to the moon and reaches it brightest point just before sunrise or right after sunset. Therefore it has been called the Morning or Evening Star. It is classified as a terrestrial planet and has been called Earth's "sister or twin planet" due to the similar size, gravity, and surface composition.

Mercury - is the smallest planet and the closest to the Sun. It was also named after a Roman god. Mercury is similar in appearance to the Moon: it is heavily cratered with regions of smooth plains, has no natural satellites and no substantial atmosphere but has a rocky body like the earth. It is also a bright planet and can be seen from the earth. Relatively little is known about this planet as compared to the other three.

The video below provides an illustration of the relative positions the planets should have throughout the week.

Image Credit: Luis Argerich

Responses to "Mars, Jupiter, Venus & Mercury - A cluster of planets visible to the naked eye on May 9-12!"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Of course, my birthday, and I did not see any of them! So I have understood that Venus rules with Jupiter and Mars influence, be careful of Mercury.

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