Now is Your Chance to Photograph All Five Visible Planets in One Shot

Jan 20, 2016

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

Now is Your Chance to Photograph All Five Visible Planets in One Shot

Jan 20, 2016

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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Planets

Of all the planets found in the Solar System, only five of the brightest planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, can be seen with the naked eye.

While all five of these planets can be seen throughout most of the year, as of this morning they can all be seen simultaneously as they (mostly) align diagonally in the early morning sky.

Last time this happened was over a decade ago, so ready your cameras and plan your shots.

The rare celestial event, which can be seen in the predawn sky, began early this morning and the astronomical alignment will last for exactly one month.

According to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), these five are the only planets visible to the naked eye as Neptune and Pluto are so far away you need a telescope to see them. The ninth planet, or eighth if you don’t consider Pluto to be a planet, is Uranus. This one is said to rarely be seen without an aid and a super dark sky, though it is widely believed many people can’t see it due to their heads being too far up their own… never mind.

In order to view the aligned planets you’ll want to have your eyes (and lens) on the sky about 45 minutes before sunrise. There are many websites and apps that will help you find out exactly what time sunrise is in your location, but I’m a big fan of PhotoPills (it’s overkill for just finding sunrise times, but it does so much more).

The IDA recommends you find the planets by searching for the brightest one – Venus, first. Once spotted, you’ll see Mercury to the left and the others to the right of Venus. Stellarium (pictured above) is a great tool to see in which direction the planets will be at any given time while they’re visible from your location.

The best viewing is said to be during the last week of January and first week of February, according to Sky & Telescope, so now is a good time to practice and try out your settings.

The early birds among you might think this is not a new sight as the planets have been visible for a while now, but those were only four of them; Mercury only joined the party this morning.

If you’re unable to get out and photograph the astronomical sight, you’ll be happy to hear it’s going to happen again in August.

[via International Dark-Sky Association]

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Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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13 responses to “Now is Your Chance to Photograph All Five Visible Planets in One Shot”

  1. Francis Bacon Avatar
    Francis Bacon

    I see six.

    1. Jake Donovan Avatar
      Jake Donovan

      Which one is the sixth PLANET you see?

      1. 120_300 OS for nikon Avatar
        120_300 OS for nikon

        Earth is number six

        1. Jake Donovan Avatar
          Jake Donovan

          Damnit, you got me. :D

    2. Ray Fischer Avatar
      Ray Fischer

      Now, now, nobody likes a smartass. :-)

  2. Gustavo Muniz Avatar
    Gustavo Muniz

    Is it possible to see them in South hemisphere? Or is it only for North hemisphere?

  3. Terry Ryder Avatar
    Terry Ryder

    Would love to see it But Michigan has only a few unclouded days in the winter ?

  4. Ian Cook Avatar
    Ian Cook

    Doug Earnest

  5. Doug Earnest Avatar
    Doug Earnest

    I’m on it buddy I just need clear skies

  6. Rita Avatar
    Rita

    I have a simple canon digital camera with limited manual settings. Any suggestions on what settings would work best? I can set ISO and fstops.

    1. Ray Fischer Avatar
      Ray Fischer

      ISO 1600 (3200 if it’s not too noisy), lowest f-stop your lens will do, and 1 to 2 seconds exposure as a starting point

      1. B Moreno Avatar
        B Moreno

        what would be considered a good lens

        1. Ray Fischer Avatar
          Ray Fischer

          For this? The last time I wanted to shoot broad areas of the night sky I rented a 24mm f1.4 lens that normally sells for $1500. You’d do better just driving to someplace away from city lights since planets are pretty bright. Or do both if you want to do something that you can hang on a wall