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Look Up! 5 Bright Planets To Align In Early Morning Sky

By Marisa Fusinski

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) - Set your alarm for 5:30 a.m. and head outside. This is your chance, scientists say, to see something special in the pre-dawn sky.

Mike Narlock, Head of Astronomy at Cranbrook Institute of Science, tells CBS Detroit that — for the first time in more than 10 years —  it will be possible to see all five "classical planets" (the five closest to earth) shining at once on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

But, while headlines across the globe have announced that "five planets will align," that doesn't mean they'll be in a big clump, Narlock explained.

"What you'll see is five planets in an array...Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn," said Narlock, "They'll get close to each other so you can see them in one eyeful across the sky."

Venus will be easiest to pick out, being the brightest, with Mercury to the left and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn on the other side, all in a diagonal line.

While it's not a one-in-a-lifetime thing, Narlock said, it's not something you will see every day. But if you oversleep on Wednesday, you're still OK.

He said we have about a month, give or take, beginning Jan. 20, and then every morning though around Feb. 20.

It's the time of day, he said, that's key.

"In the early morning hours, before sunrise is when you'll see it best. You're trying to catch the sky before the sun comes up; and once the sun comes up it sort of runs the party of everybody."

As usual, Narlock said, the best place the view the planets is away from city lights. But, he said, it will absolutely be possible to see this phenomenon here right in metro Detroit (weather permitting), and with the naked eye — no telescope required.

"It's a great event because it gets people interested...especially for folks who live in the city and they don't get treated to easy sights in the sky."

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