Can all of these celestial bodies be seen at one time?

Mercury, Venus, our moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

I’m guessing this is in the Western hemisphere, but it seems unlikely to me that all of them can be seen anywhere at the same time. That makes six planets including Earth, plus our moon all visible at the same time?

I don’t buy it.

I see that this is a link to an astronomy page on Wikipedia. Lovely.

Someone will surely stop by with an actual answer of sorts. Nice to know you’re aware of Wikipedia, and also copy/paste functions as well.

I’m pretty sure you could see them from someplace outside of the orbital plane.

It looks to me, right now, today/tomorrow, that your best shot at being able to see all these planets in the night (evening) sky would be about GMT+1, probably like in Lichtenstein or Albania (a lower latitude, where the sun sets a little earlier). Of course, if you had a telescope with some kind of absurdly long glare-damping tube (if such a thing exists), you could see any planet within your optical range regardless of daylight – none of the 8 appear to be opposing the sun right now. This is based on what my SkyOrb app is telling me, and it seems to be fairly accurate.

I wasn’t the one who posted that link, but IANA astronomer, so I read it and it describes several notable conjunctions, including the following. The second and third quotes seem closest to what you’re asking for.



If you mean right now, I don’t think so. You can see Mars, Jupiter, Saturn (which you don’t mention) and the Moon all near each other in the west in the evening. You can see Jupiter, the moon, Venus, and Mercury in the east in the morning, but I don’t think you can see all at once this month.

ETA: The hemisphere (East or West) mostly won’t matter. You see pretty much the same thing in both as the Earth’s rotation is much faster than any of them move in the sky.

However if you mean ever, then almost certainly yes. Back in the spring 2002 Venus, Mars Jupiter and Saturn were all visible in the evening sky at once in April and May so the Moon must have been with them at some point.

It’s rare as pointed out.

With Mercury and Venus always sticking pretty close to the sun (as they are the two planets inside our orbit), a conjunction will always have to be during twilight hours.

Then the conjunction of the outer planets is tricky, as Jupiter and Saturn are waaaay out there, so they orbit much slower than Mars. So, like clockwork, the sun, moon, earth and the planets have to be in just the right spot in their orbits.

Then of course, since it’s dawn, or dusk, you’re gonna want decent seeing conditions, as Mercury is dim (depending on its phase) and can get lost in sunlight. Saturn is dim too, but not too bad. I’ve made Saturn out easily enough in the city. A full moon would add to the conditions of course, so a crescent moon would make it a bit easier, I suppose.

Initially I thought of that as well, but reading the OP carefully it’s clear the intent is seeing them from on the earth’s surface.

Yeah, it’s perfectly possible. You have a large window each year to see Saturn and Jupiter and for years at a time they will be only a few hours away from each other - meaning, for instance, one will be well past rising when the other’s near its highest point. So you have to get the other bodies to cooperate. Mars, again, when it shows up is visible for weeks or months, though there’s only a small window when it’s at its best. Venus was a bright evening-sky object for most of the first half of this year.

Really your biggest problem is Mercury because Mercury is so close to the Sun you can see it only close to sunrise or sunset, and then not for long, so you need the comparatively rare occasions when Mercury is lingering at its longest after sunset and the planets, especially Mars and Saturn, are at their brightest. (Jupiter and Venus, and of course the Moon, are plainly visible even in a blue evening sky, never mind about a dark night.)

I don’t say that it’s a common event, but given the big differences in orbit times for the various bodies, it’s obvious that they can manage it once in a long while. Getting them into conjunction - that is, more or less lined up with each other in the sky, rather than just plain visible - is another matter.

Here ya go. It happened in 2002 if I am reading the article right. Note what makes this somewhat rare is that all the planets are in their “proper order” and relatively close together in the sky. Once you relax that requirement to they are just all above the horizon at the same time and not in any particular order, it becomes more common.

Mercury is really the only planet that can be a bit challenging to see. The others are a breeze unless you live in a really big city. Some people in really dark skies with good eyes can see Uranus. IIRC Galileo actually saw Uranus but didn’t realize it was a planet. Imagine how him discovering a planet would have gone down with the Church!

Without doing any research or heavy math my educated guess (using some dubious math/statistics) is that you can see mercury, venus, mars, jupiter, and saturn all above the horizon at the same time (though not in order) on average about every 15 years give or take. a factor of 2 say.

Neptune, actually. But then, he had a telescope.

The question shouldn’t be whether, but when. Oversimplified, we simply have 6 sinusoidal functions, and simply need to solve for x where all but one is above some limit value, and the other (for the sun) is below (so we can actually see the other bodies).

Add relativity and gravity interaction and the functions are more complicated, but they’re still mostly periodic, so eventually it happens. Determining when is quite a bit trickier, of course.
(Two points to TriPolar for the outside-the-box answer!)

If this is true, then my skepticism was partially verified. The situation you described sounded like a normal evening of looking at the stars.

Uhh, no you were basically wrong. Who the heck said on any given night?

If I talked about a beautiful sunset I saw at the Grand Canyon would you call BS because it is highly unlikely I actually live there? I see that every couple of decades as well so far.

Your post is my cite.


So my post that you were wrong is your cite of what exactly?

If that’s a clever way to say “my bad” my hat is off to you.

Otherwise…lame…and still wrong.