Thursday, January 21, 2016

Schools : Watch out ! Five planets at a time?

credits: Sky & Telescope

Do you remember Venus Mars and Jupiter, October 23, 2015? Oh! Well, the time is to watch Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. 

Yes. The time is now! Five planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be seen simultaneously before dawn beginning around January 20, 2016 in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. 
And they’ll remain visible before dawn from about January 20 to February 20, 2016. They will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye for the first time in more than a decade according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York.
The last time that all five visible planets appeared in the same sky together was from about December 15, 2004, to January 15, 2005. That was 10 years ago.

Sources: NASA; Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Sky & Telescope
By The New York Times
The show was expected to run from Jan. 20 until Feb. 20, but the peak time to see all five is from the end of January until the first week of February, when Mercury is at its highest points, according to Sky & Telescope. The display is made possible by the uncommon alignment of all five planets along what is called the “ecliptic” plane of their orbits, according to Jim Green, the planetary science division director at NASA.
In fact, during the next two weeks you'll have a good chance to view five planets at once. It's a real visual treat, so don't pass up the chance to see it.

credits: Ken Christison, USA

Ken Christison of North Carolina caught four of the five visible planets before dawn on January 18, 2016. 

It's expected Mercury to become visible in the morning sky during the last week of January (or perhaps sooner). 

Seek for Mercury near the horizon and on line with Venus and Saturn.
By bright or visible planet, astronomers mean any planet in our own solar system that’s easily viewed without an optical aid and that has been watched by our ancestors since time immemorial.

In their outward order from the sun, the five bright planets are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. These planets are easily seen in our sky because their disks reflect sunlight, and these relatively nearby worlds tend to shine with a steadier light than the distant, twinkling stars.


January 2016 is a month full of stars and planets. How lucky we are! After Catch some Falling Stars, the Quadrantis, here we have five planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn to be seen simultaneously.

Since yesterday, 20 January 2016, we have the possibility to admire the five planet conjunction.

Wow! And this time, students are all at school. No excuses. Propose your students this new scientific event.

Most of us were excited about the Quadrantid shower. Of course, teachers and students, specially if you teach sciences and your students learn sciences, you will be even more enthusiastic

My usual readers know I don't teach sciences. I'm a Humanities specialistBut I'm a huge fan of science. Astronomy is my passion.

So don't miss this good live educational resource in the sky to enhance your Sciences lesson! Five planets at a time! Wow!

You have a perfect resource to include into your curriculum, in different moments, during almost twenty days until 20 February, more or less.

credits: Sky & Telescope diagram

How to view?
Moreover, people around the globe can use the moon to help guide them to this showcase of planets from January 27 to February 6. The charts below are for mid-northern North American latitudes, although these planets can be seen in the morning sky from anywhere around the world.

From left: Europa, the moon of Jupiter; Titan, the moon of Saturn; a composite image of the Valles Marineris across Mars; a mosaic of Venus's surface. Credit

Venus is obvious as it lingers above the southeastern horizon. It's actually in decline, not nearly as high uo as we saw it toward the end of 2015. But Venus has no equal for brightness among the night's planets and stars. 

Follow the charts above and below, they show the moon’s position on the sky’s dome relative to these five bright planets from January 27 to February 6. Read more here

credits: Sky & Telescope diagram

What time?
You'll need to be outside about 45 minutes before sunrise. This time of year, if you go to school, you're are up by then. May be well positioned to scan thepredawn eastern horizon as head oof to school.
Don't let the vastness of interplanetary space keep you from enjoying for the simple visual beauty that awaits you before dawn.

We haven't this opportunity since 2005.Eleven years ago. Some of your students were not even born!

Back then their order in the sky briefly matched their relative order outward from the Sun.

This time, Mars and Saturn apparently didn't get the memo, but we'll happily overlook that, right? 

credits: EarthSky


Observing the sky and following this awesome event  will enhance your sciences courses and your students will  understand better than on a textbook or a video the real scientific fact.

From today, 21 January until 20 February seeing all five bright planets simultaneously, teachers and students must take some good shots, even making some videos taking their tablets, iPhones, smartphones. 

The event will be discussed in several lessons.

Don't forget to make a good plan to aply every lesson. Each teacher will adapt the activities to the level they teach.

Social media:

Facebook : ; Sky&Telescope ; EarthSky

Google + : ; EarthSky
Hope you will enjoy the Five Planets at once, admiring the beauty of this awesome event. 


Copyright © 2016G-Souto'sBlog,®

Creative Commons License
Schools : Watch out ! Five planets at a time ? by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

References: Sky & Telescope/ EarthSky

No comments:

Post a Comment