Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn all appeared in the predawn sky, completely visible to the naked eye. In clear skies, the planets could be seen aligned diagonally, spanning from low in the east to higher in the north. This sort of visual spectacle hasn’t occurred since 2005!
Fortunately for those who missed it, there will be plenty more opportunities to see the rare alignment. According to Sky & Telescope, this visual treat will run from Jan. 20 to Feb. 20 with the last week of January and first week of February providing the best views.
Obviously, clear skies are ideal for seeing the planets about 45 minutes before sunrise. And Jason Kendall from the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York has some tips for distinguishing between a planet and a star in the video below: