(Several) Nights Only- All Seven Planets Visible in One Night

For those of you with even a small refractor telescope, the next few nights present a once in a blue moon opportunity to spot all seven planets in the same evening.
Five of them are visible without even binoculars, while the other two will require you to reference the charts below. While Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will "move" faster in the sky, Uranus and Neptune will stay relatively fixed in their positions in Pisces and Aquarius for some time.

The closest five planets all yield some features through a small amateur telescope, the largest, Saturn and Jupiter, even reveal their moons through simple binoculars, all this regardless of light pollution so even city dwellers can get a good view. Don't expect anything more than a colored disk on the outer gas giants, even with my 8" reflector Uranus is mostly featureless and dull. Anyway, charts below, and the weather tonight is perfect in all but middle fifth of the country, so it makes a perfect time to look up!

Mars is visible for a good hour after sunset, low in the Western horizon:
Mars 1 Hour After Sunset

Jupiter will be rising in the East just before sunset and will dominate Taurus for the entire night. The Great Red Spot, which is shrinking, so catch it while you can, will appear around 2:30AM :
Jupiter 1 hr after sunset

You should wait a good hour or two after sunset to even try to aim for Uranus and Neptune. Uranus will be slightly harder to find despite being brighter due to its proximity in tonight's sky to the moon. The charts below, and a cheap planisphere, should be good enough to spot both with a medium-sized refractor:
Uranus and moon
Neptune

Take a good long nap, but wake up before sunrise for three planets in a row: Saturn, Venus and Mercury will form a straight line (along with the bright star Spica) around 530-600am:
SATURN MERCURY VENUS

Maps generated from Stellarium

Posted by: CAC at 07:37 PM



Comments

1 Oh no! Gravitational alignment! We're all doomed!

Posted by: Avid EnterpriseMission Reader at December 19, 2012 07:48 PM (NXd0Q)

2 Uranus. Hee hee hee.

Posted by: Deli LLama at December 19, 2012 07:49 PM (lGu1O)

3 I hate all of you.

Posted by: Pluto at December 19, 2012 07:49 PM (z9HTb)

4 Thank God. I can't take any more Benghazi debate. It's done, and we're done. Sadly.

Posted by: Tobacco Road at December 19, 2012 07:50 PM (4Mv1T)

5 Its nice to hear from CAC. How you doin?

Posted by: Thunderb at December 19, 2012 07:51 PM (Dnbau)

6 "even with my 8" reflector Uranus is mostly featureless and dull."

That's what she said.

Posted by: Masturbatin' Pete at December 19, 2012 07:51 PM (8AF9+)

7 Good about the planets, but what about the SMOD?

Posted by: L, Elle who wants a wookie this year for Christmas at December 19, 2012 07:51 PM (0PiQ4)

8 I use my Bushnell spotting scope to view the cosmos at night, and whatever my neighbors are up to. *wink*

Posted by: Tobacco Road at December 19, 2012 07:52 PM (4Mv1T)

9 look at the stars, love your families, take care of your own, persist, wait

Posted by: Thunderb at December 19, 2012 07:52 PM (Dnbau)

10 8 if you look down.

Posted by: Zennla at December 19, 2012 07:52 PM (YCB8Z)

11 Where's Nibiru?

Posted by: Ignatz D. Mouse at December 19, 2012 07:53 PM (AD6Iz)

12 even with my 8" reflector Uranus is mostly featureless and dull

Not mine, thweetie.

Posted by: barney frank at December 19, 2012 07:53 PM (9GaPd)

13 where is SMOD?

Posted by: Thunderb at December 19, 2012 07:53 PM (Dnbau)

14 Uranus is mostly featureless and dull


That's because I get it bleached twice a week.

Posted by: Sasha Grey at December 19, 2012 07:55 PM (2jQGY)

15 I hate all of you.
Posted by: Pluto at December 19, 2012 07:49 PM (z9HTb)
-------------------------------------------------------
Fuck you. We are here talking about planets.... which you AIN'T!

Posted by: Truck Monkey at December 19, 2012 07:56 PM (jucos)

16 Good about the planets, but what about the SMOD?

There fast approaching from the rear towards Uranus.

Posted by: harleycowboy at December 19, 2012 07:58 PM (wSTfB)

17 Pluto is too a planet!

Posted by: alexthechick - SMOD. Helping it burn. at December 19, 2012 07:58 PM (Gk3SS)

18 re: "even with my 8" reflector Uranus is mostly featureless and dull"

Because that's what it really looks like. Pictures of it that aren't disappointing are all falsified.

(Is what she said.)

I think having a giant blurry space cue ball rolling around out there is awesome, but NASA/JPL disagree.

Posted by: oblig. at December 19, 2012 07:58 PM (cePv8)

19 Fuck you. We are here talking about planets.... which you AIN'T!


I hate you with the heat of a thousand suns.








*brrr*

Posted by: Pluto at December 19, 2012 07:58 PM (z9HTb)

20 Pluto is too a planet!
Posted by: alexthechick - SMOD. Helping it burn. at December 19, 2012 07:58 PM (Gk3SS)
-------------------------------------------------------------
Since when?

Posted by: Truck Monkey at December 19, 2012 07:59 PM (jucos)

21 17 Pluto is too a planet!
Posted by: alexthechick - SMOD. Helping it burn. at December 19, 2012 07:58 PM (Gk3SS)




You're gonna set the raptors loose if I make a Uranus joke, aren't you?

Posted by: BCochran1981 at December 19, 2012 07:59 PM (GEICT)

22 *they're* Damn proofreader's screwing around again.

Posted by: harleycowboy at December 19, 2012 08:00 PM (wSTfB)

23 Heh heh, you said "refractory"!

Posted by: Beavis Penis, Penis Beavis at December 19, 2012 08:00 PM (I88Jc)

24 Sasha Grey does have a nice brown eye. Very nice.

Posted by: Truck Monkey at December 19, 2012 08:00 PM (jucos)

25
CAC would bring charts.

... and we love CAC for the charts.

Posted by: knob at December 19, 2012 08:01 PM (H1bc7)

26 Pluto is too a planet!


I hate y...what?


A supporter!

Posted by: Pluto at December 19, 2012 08:01 PM (z9HTb)

27 CAC hath become Jack Horkheimer, Star Hustler.

Posted by: Kevin in ABQ at December 19, 2012 08:01 PM (BvTwT)

28
Uranus is mostly featureless and dull

Ahem

Posted by: Anal Tattoo Girl at December 19, 2012 08:01 PM (0WLla)

29 Connect the dots in the sky - in Mayan reads April Fools!

Posted by: Deli LLama at December 19, 2012 08:04 PM (lGu1O)

30 Can you do me a solid and put an electric blanket in a rocket and send it my way?

It's freezing out here!

Posted by: Pluto at December 19, 2012 08:05 PM (z9HTb)

31 Pluto is actually considered a "dwarf planet" per National Geographic. To be a full-fledged, card-carrying PLANET, it has to "dominate its neighborhood in the Solar System. Should I go on?

Posted by: Tobacco Road at December 19, 2012 08:06 PM (4Mv1T)

32 First they came for the Crystal Spheres, and I said nothing, because I am not glass.

Then they came for the Ether, but I didn't protest, because I am not made of ether.

Finally they came for Pluto, and I'm like, wait a fucking minute! Who the fuck do you fucks think you are saying what's a planet or not?

You're fucks, that's what! So shut the fuck up and get me a fucking juice box.

Fuck!

Posted by: Foul Neptune at December 19, 2012 08:06 PM (Ca00V)

33 I was the best part of the planet mnemonic, you bastards.

Posted by: Pluto at December 19, 2012 08:07 PM (wsGWu)

34 Fucking sweet!

I love astronomy during autumn and winter!

Especially in Ohio!

Posted by: ErikW on the damned phone at December 19, 2012 08:07 PM (q0AAx)

35 That's nice. But you won't get a very good view when you're face down, ass up

Posted by: the tau-cetians at December 19, 2012 08:08 PM (QTHTd)

36 I'll dominate your mother.

Posted by: Pluto at December 19, 2012 08:09 PM (wsGWu)

37 I was the best part of the planet mnemonic, you bastards.


What is this, a Star Trek episode?


Fuck off, I'm already working this corner.

Posted by: the original Pluto at December 19, 2012 08:09 PM (z9HTb)

38

Greetings morons and ettes! For any of you in the Denver area, my band (voted best cover band in Colorado 4 years straight) will be at Chatfield's, 5500 S. Simms St, Littleton, Friday night for our End Of The World party. Liftoff at 8PM.

We are putting on a multimedia show with classic rock, pics,lots of dancing and general hellraising. C'mon down and help kick some booty...until the end anyway.

I'll put this upevery so oftenuntil Friday evening, so sorry if you see repeats.

Posted by: Meremortal, time to slutdrop the GOPe at December 19, 2012 08:09 PM (jTKU5)

39 When the planets align properly they will act like an accelerator for SMOD.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at December 19, 2012 08:09 PM (J+mgg)

40 Uranus has asteroids.

Posted by: Sam in VA at December 19, 2012 08:10 PM (YCvRs)

41 is this a sign?







well they are mooning us.

Posted by: ette at December 19, 2012 08:12 PM (nqBYe)

42 Those still photos from the "Pluto Nash" sequel look good. Oh, Eddie's gonna be in it? Never mind.

Posted by: Beavis Penis, Penis Beavis at December 19, 2012 08:12 PM (I88Jc)

43 The old Star Trek joke is -
Q. "What do Klingons and toilet paper have in common?"
A. "They both circle around Uranus."

I will be here all night. Try the Tellerite ambassador, he is well and cooked.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at December 19, 2012 08:13 PM (J+mgg)

44 ...40 Uranus has asteroids.

Myanus has hemorroids.

TMI. I denounce myself.

Posted by: Tobacco Road at December 19, 2012 08:13 PM (4Mv1T)

45 Meremortal, and if we can't come will you record it and let us watch the fun?

Posted by: ette at December 19, 2012 08:14 PM (nqBYe)

46 I just unwittingly stepped on CAC, so I put my post back into "drafts."

Posted by: Warden at December 19, 2012 08:16 PM (c0lSS)

47 Did I just halucinate about a warden thread?

Posted by: Mr. Moo Moo at December 19, 2012 08:18 PM (HDgX3)

48 You all treated me like a planet for decades. What changed, man?

Posted by: Pluto at December 19, 2012 08:18 PM (QKKT0)

49 Actually, this post has been up for more than a half hour. I'll re-post mine.

Posted by: Warden at December 19, 2012 08:19 PM (c0lSS)

50 Did I just halucinate about a warden thread?


Posted by: Mr. Moo Moo at December 19, 2012 08:18 PM (HDgX3)


If you saw him in a ghillie suit, then no.

Posted by: Cicero (@cicero) at December 19, 2012 08:19 PM (QKKT0)

51 It's gonna be snowing here dammit.

Posted by: jewells45 at December 19, 2012 08:19 PM (u25eL)

52 Unfortunately in my neck of the woods mid-Nov to early Jan it's cloudy every fucking day/night and I can't see this stuff.

Posted by: Mr. Moo Moo at December 19, 2012 08:20 PM (HDgX3)

53
Ette, if you can figure out a way to get me a snail mail addy (maybe by way of a safe email), I'll send you a CD with some live tunes and a couple of studio recordings too. We will be way too busy to record Friday night, unfortunately.


I can already tell it's going to be a wild one.

Posted by: Meremortal, time to slutdrop the GOPe at December 19, 2012 08:20 PM (jTKU5)

54 I just unwittingly stepped on CAC, so I put my post back into "drafts."


Read it and bookmarked it.

Posted by: fluffy at December 19, 2012 08:20 PM (z9HTb)

55 Pluto, It really wasn't You, we just can't get our shit together.

Posted by: ette at December 19, 2012 08:20 PM (nqBYe)

56 Meremortal, I want one too!!!

Posted by: jewells45 at December 19, 2012 08:21 PM (u25eL)

57 Meremortal, alright, i will have to try to remember my password.


(i know right)
yeah that's me!

Posted by: ette at December 19, 2012 08:22 PM (nqBYe)

58 If Uranus was a Moon what would you have?

Posted by: Killerdog at December 19, 2012 08:22 PM (TCVO1)

59 i wish i could go!

Posted by: ette at December 19, 2012 08:22 PM (nqBYe)

60 It's gonna be snowing here dammit.
Posted by: jewells45 at December 19, 2012 08:19 PM (u25eL)

It is 80 damned degrees in Austin. I have the windows open and the fan on.

Posted by: Invictus at December 19, 2012 08:23 PM (OQpzc)

61 Oh shut up Invictus.

Posted by: jewells45 at December 19, 2012 08:24 PM (u25eL)

62

Ok, jewells45, I'll get with youand ette,but after the holidays, OK? Flying out of state right after thegig to visit family.I'll have to get home to burn CDs, we sold out.

Posted by: Meremortal, time to slutdrop the GOPe at December 19, 2012 08:24 PM (jTKU5)

63 i know ace has my email

hmm still won't help me with password.

(sorry had a glass of wine weee)

Posted by: ette at December 19, 2012 08:24 PM (nqBYe)

64 "...a perfect time to look up!"
Was that a Jack Horkheimer reference?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iXLMEi4Kp0


Posted by: LexisTexas at December 19, 2012 08:24 PM (kPFAg)

65 58 If Uranus was a Moon what would you have?

"I would have..." no pants on?? What do I win!

Posted by: Tobacco Road at December 19, 2012 08:24 PM (4Mv1T)

66 "All 7 Planets"
_______
Why Back in my day there were 9 planets. How the tuck did we get to 7? I guess the Mayans were right...and Earth is next!

Posted by: Grumpy old man at December 19, 2012 08:25 PM (PALjS)

67 Meremortal, Hope you and yours have a lovely time through the holidays.

Posted by: ette at December 19, 2012 08:25 PM (nqBYe)

68 Thanks Meremortal.. it's just jewells45 at yahoo. Thanks!! ( make sure you put something in the subject so I know it's you).

Posted by: jewells45 at December 19, 2012 08:26 PM (u25eL)

69 66- We're just down to 8. You can see all 7, from the 8th. Get it.

Posted by: Tobacco Road at December 19, 2012 08:27 PM (4Mv1T)

70 haha you said ur anus

Posted by: trailortrash at December 19, 2012 08:27 PM (xllDV)

71 There are eight planets besides earth.

Posted by: yankeefifth at December 19, 2012 08:28 PM (Z9EHQ)

72 "If Uranus was a Moon what would you have?"

An opportunity for a double-tap NEA grant?

Posted by: NASA outreach films at December 19, 2012 08:28 PM (I88Jc)

73 Oh shut up Invictus.
Posted by: jewells45 at December 19, 2012 08:24 PM (u25eL)

Just give it time. You can gloat when I'm dying at 95 degrees and near 90% humidity.

Posted by: Invictus at December 19, 2012 08:29 PM (OQpzc)

74 It is 80 damned degrees in Austin. I have the windows open and the fan on. Posted by: Invictus at December 19, 2012 08:23 PM (OQpzc) ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____Looking out the window of this Hollywood hotelYou'd never think that this was Christmas EveThe neon and the billboards took the place of Silver BellsAnd the temperature is 84 degreesI can seepeople on the crowded strip belowAs the palm trees poke their heads above the sandBut there's not a single reindeer and it hardly ever snowsAnd Santa drives a Rolls Royce limousine-The Dirt Band (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)

Posted by: Meremortal, time to slutdrop the GOPe at December 19, 2012 08:29 PM (jTKU5)

75 Doomed! You didn't even point out the SMOD!

Posted by: Yip at December 19, 2012 08:29 PM (/jHWN)

76 thanks pixy, fucker

Posted by: Meremortal, time to slutdrop the GOPe at December 19, 2012 08:30 PM (jTKU5)

77 Hurry hurry hurry! Come see the eight planets!

*ka-boom!!!!*

Hurry hurry hurry! Come see the seven planets!
-- Marvin the Martian

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at December 19, 2012 08:30 PM (J+mgg)

78 I!
See!
Seven!
Planets!

Posted by: Jean Luc Picard at December 19, 2012 08:31 PM (nyG2S)

79 69 66- We're just down to 8. You can see all 7, from the 8th. Get it.
____
Oh....I get it ....just a poor attempt to make a joke about Mayan lunacy....with my sock on. Im not really a grumpy old man...but the wife says I am becoming one.

Posted by: Grumpy old man at December 19, 2012 08:31 PM (PALjS)

80

Got it jewells, writing it down.

Posted by: Meremortal, time to slutdrop the GOPe at December 19, 2012 08:35 PM (jTKU5)

81

No worries ette, I'll see you around.

Posted by: Meremortal, time to slutdrop the GOPe at December 19, 2012 08:36 PM (jTKU5)

82 Thought I recognized Stellarium, it's what I use. Too bad it's raining here.

Posted by: kurtilator at December 19, 2012 08:40 PM (juh4Z)

83 Whassup Pluto! Still tied to Neptune's orbit I see. Face it, loser, you're just a comet with delusions of grandeur.

Posted by: Eris aka Xena at December 19, 2012 08:42 PM (QTHTd)

84
Posted by: ette at December 19, 2012 08:25 PM (nqBYe)

Thanks ette, same to you and yours! As my Native American friends say, Many Blessings.

Posted by: Meremortal, time to slutdrop the GOPe at December 19, 2012 08:44 PM (jTKU5)

85 We need a big laser beam to shoot at all the planets and the moon and carve this into them, "Obama Sucks"

Posted by: Cowboy at December 19, 2012 08:51 PM (WcgMM)

86 Cool, thanks for the heads up. I actually have a somewhat decent telescope sitting in the garage collecting dust. It's a planet finder so sounds like a hell of the night to drag it out.

Posted by: HeftyJo at December 19, 2012 09:28 PM (v/xMA)

87 that other thread is crazy depressing, so I'm just going to talk to myself here.

Posted by: elizabethe at December 19, 2012 09:43 PM (xzxDr)

88 so, planets. planets are good. My son loves planets.

Thanks CAC for the heads up about this, My FIL has a telescope and is all into stargazing, might actually be able to do this with my kid.

Posted by: elizabethe at December 19, 2012 09:47 PM (xzxDr)

89 darn. when will the ONT go up?

Posted by: elizabethe at December 19, 2012 09:55 PM (xzxDr)

90 We need a big laser beam to shoot at all the planets and the moon and carve this into them, "Obama Sucks"

Swervedriver thought of it first: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3GQ2IgL-l4

(Being bein-pensants, of course they hated on Mrs T, but I personally sing "Barry" where it says "Maggie")

Posted by: boulder hobo at December 19, 2012 09:57 PM (QTHTd)

91 Completely overcast where I live, so no go. Anyway, Mercury would probably be too close to the horizon to see before sunrise. Uranus I could see, and probably identify, but doubtful I could identify Neptune, (my equipment is a decent pair of 8x42 binoculars).

Posted by: jbarntt at December 19, 2012 10:01 PM (UNFot)

92 Alderaan was unavailable for comment.

Posted by: iNC Ref at December 19, 2012 10:03 PM (F5hy9)

93 Which one has Mudd's women on it?
The Trudy series looked good!
And tell Bones to lay off the booze, that's for sterilizing wounds and instruments and sh!t.
Oh, can we get Worf to beat that Crusher kid to within an inch of his life; that pr!ck really gets to me.


OT: Does anyone know when Red Dwarf X is coming to the States, either Blu-Ray or iTunes?

Posted by: The Man from Athens at December 20, 2012 01:24 AM (RXQ2T)

94 We had clouds.

Posted by: rtw at December 20, 2012 09:33 AM (Srqj9)

Posted by: bb at December 20, 2012 02:43 PM (OQpzc)

96 Great post, CAC. I try to talk my lunkhead buddies into looking at the night sky with binocs, to no avail. Too busy watching football at our neighborhood saloon and bitching bout His Assholiness, I 'spose. Give us some more like this!

Posted by: Dirty Old Man at December 20, 2012 03:18 PM (UUAFX)






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