Which planets can you see from Earth with the naked eye? Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and more | The Sun

Which planets can you see from Earth with the naked eye? Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and more | The Sun

November 22, 2022

AMATEUR stargazers can spot five of the eight planets in the night sky without a telescope. 

The five brightest planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – are all visible at various times of the year and here's how you can catch a glimpse of them.

Which planets are visible to the naked eye from Earth?

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are visible for much of the year.

Neptune and Uranus are not visible – and of course the eighth planet in our solar system is Earth itself.

Planets look different to stars because their brightness varies in a cycle over a period of time and they are close enough to Earth to look like a tiny disk whereas stars look like a point of light.

Saturn and Mars are commonly mistaken for stars during their dimmer periods, according to NakedEyePlanets.

Stars also generate their own light whereas planets do not. Planets shine by reflecting a portion of the sunlight they receive back into space.

The brightness of the planet depends on its distance from the sun, the size of the planet and the position of the planet and Earth.

Planets can be seen during a period called apparition. Mars, Mercury and Venus can be seen during dawn or dusk when in this period.

Jupiter and Saturn can be seen in the dawn sky. Apparitions can last a few weeks (in the case of Mercury) to almost two years (in the case of Mars).

When will you be able to see the planets?

If you're a big stargazing fan then make sure you're free this December to spot Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.

This evening is said to be the perfect time to watch the planets rise one after the other.

Catching the phenomenon does depend on where you live and your time zone.

Jupiter rises first, then Saturn and then Mars around 90 minutes later.

Each planet rises in the east and sets in the west.

The planets should be visible to spot without equipment but to see them looking like more than stars a medium sized telescope would help.

Mercury 

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun in the Solar System. 

As a result of its closeness to the sun, it is easiest to spot from Earth early in the morning, just before sunrise. 

However, it will be visible in the evenings during December 2022.

Between December 7, 2022 and December 31, 2022, you will likely be able to observe Mercury in the sky during the evening.

It usually looks like a bright star with a yellowish hue. 

Venus

Venus is the brightest planet inward from Earth and after the moon, is the brightest object in the sky. 

It is the planet that is most similar to Earth in terms of size, gravity, and composition

It should be visible by the naked eye for a week at the end of 2022, between December 23, and December, 31. 

It will be observable during the evening. 

Mars

Mars is often called the red planet because it appears an orangey red colour in the sky and there is a lot of iron oxide on its surface, which has a reddish tint when it is exposed to oxygen.

Mars started 2022 as much less bright and visible, however as the year has progressed and it has distanced more from Earth, its brightness has increased.

Mars will be the closest to Earth on October 30, 2022.

From December 7, 2022, Mars will be outshining even the brightest star in the sky. 

It will be the most visible between December 8 and December 31 2022.

Jupiter

Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System and usually the brightest object in the sky, after the Moon and Venus. 

Summer is usually the best time to view it, however it is also visible in the evenings between September 26 and December 31, 2022.

It is usually recognised by it's "Great Red Spot" which is actually a storm that occurs on the planets surface. 

Saturn 

Saturn is sixth planet from the sun and the second largest in the Solar System. 

Saturn can be observed from Earth, high in the sky after sunset.

It appears golden in colour and shines steadily.

It is perfect for observing in the evening.

Saturn is possibly one of the most distinct planets due to its bright ring. 

However, the famous ring is only visible by telescope, but you can still view the rest of it with the naked eye.

It was most visible between August and September of 2022 but it can still be spotted in the evenings until December 31, 2022.

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