For the first time in almost a decade, sky-watchers this week will be able to see all five naked-eye planets over the course of one night for several nights in a row.
The classical naked-eye planets—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn—can be seen easily without optical aids and so have been known since ancient times.
But the quintet hasn’t appeared together during a single night since 2004.
What’s more, this week’s parade of planets will be joined in the nighttime skies by the waxing crescent to waxing gibbous moon and the superbright stars Sirius and Canopus.
"Although being able to see these objects simultaneously doesn’t have any scientific value as such, it is a really fun opportunity to get a sense of how we fit in the universe," said Geza Gyuk, an astronomer with the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.
"It is a bit like looking at an astronomy class in a nutshell."