Mental Floss

Wake Up Early This Month to See Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter Aligned in a Dazzling Display

Michele Debczak

Sky-gazers who wake up early this month will be treated to a spectacular sight in the pre-dawn sky. As reports, Mars, Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter are currently visible, and for the remainder of April, the four planets will line up above the eastern horizon in the early morning.

According to NASA, Mars, Venus, and Saturn have been making nightly appearances together before sunrise since the beginning of the month. Around mid-April, Jupiter joined the trio to form a quartet. The largest planet in our solar system has been rising higher in the morning sky with each passing night, and by the last week of April, it will be easy to spot with the naked eye.

You can see the planets form a diagonal line in the sky in the hour leading up to sunrise. Jupiter will be the closest body to the horizon, with Venus, Mars, and Saturn appearing to ascend in that order. Though all four planets will end up in the same part of the sky, Venus and Jupiter will come especially close at the end of the month. On the morning of Saturday, April 30, the two points of light will come within 0.45 degrees of each other to form a conjunction.

To catch the planetary alignment, go outside about an hour before dawn and look east. Venus will be the brightest of the four bodies, and it may be the first planet you spot. If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, look for Mars and Saturn above it and to the right and Jupiter below it to the left. Observers in the Southern Hemisphere will see the planets form a steeper angle, with the uppermost planets Saturn and Mars falling on the left side of Venus and Jupiter appearing at its bottom-right.

The planets should be visible without a telescope in clear, dark conditions, but light pollution may hurt your chances of seeing the phenomenon. Here are more stargazing tips from astronomers.