The next several mornings will feature a rare cosmic spectacle in the pre-dawn sky as Venus, Jupiter and Mars form a tight-knit triangle above the horizon.
People heading outside before sunrise can look to the east to see the three planets in close proximity to each other as they form an oddly shaped planetary triangle, according to EarthSky.
Those that head outside and find only clouds should not have to worry about missing the planetary pileup as Venus, Jupiter and Mars remain near each other through the start of November. This should give people several opportunities to view the phenomenon for when the weather cooperates.
Monday morning was the closest that the three planets will appear until 2021, but even though they are drifting apart, they will still remain relatively close and easy to pick out with the naked eye into November.
Venus is the third brightest natural object in the sky, after the sun and the moon, and will be sitting next to Jupiter. Mars may be a bit more difficult to pick out but should be visible just below Venus and Jupiter.
If there is a clear view of the horizon, a fourth planet may also be visible.
Mercury will be a small, but visible dot right above the horizon close to where the sun rises.
However, to see Mercury skygazers will have to look about an hour before sunrise due to how close it is to the horizon. As it gets closer to sunrise, Mercury will be lost in the sunlight.
While the planets will be visible with the unaided eye, those with a telescope or a good pair of binoculars may be in for an extra treat.
When focused on Jupiter with a telescope or pair of binoculars that is strong enough, onlookers may be able to discern four of the planet's largest moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
Those attempting to view these moons with binoculars should do so with a tripod or by resting the binoculars on a steady object. The view may be too shaky to pick out the moons without being steadied.
Due to how fast these moons orbit the giant planet, Jupiter's moons will be in different locations on different mornings. If only three of the moons are visible, the fourth may be either directly in front of or hidden behind the gas giant.
By the start of November, the triad of planets will start to disperse across the early morning sky, but another celestial phenomenon will take place.
On the mornings of Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, the crescent moon will enter the picture, making a close approach to Jupiter, Venus and Mars.
People heading out before sunrise on Friday, Nov. 6, will see the moon making a close approach to Jupiter, while those looking up at the sky on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 7, will see the moon sitting next to Venus and Mars.
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