An Amateur's Guide to Viewing the Night Sky

Email a Friend
From and

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

It's been a big week for space—new names were assigned to dozens of exoplanets outside our solar system, and a new report of a possible 9th planet orbiting our sun.

Now it appears five of the most recognizable planets are putting on a bit of a show. For the first time in more than a decade, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are all visible at once. You can catch their performance just before sunrise every morning for an entire month.

Jason Kendall is an adjunct professor of astronomy at William Paterson University, and we've enlisted his help to figure out how stargazing amateurs can locate the planets and other objects in the night sky. 

What you'll learn from this segment:

  • How rare it is to see all of these planets at once. 
  • What time you'll have to wake up in order to see these planets.
  • How to tell the difference between planets and stars with the naked eye.