Over the next month, for the first time in approximately a decade, five planets will be bright enough to see with the naked eye.
The rare astronomical event will allow residents in Metro Vancouver to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter lined up in an arc within the span of a few hours during the late evening and early morning pre-dawn periods.
Clustered over the southern skies, it begins with Jupiter just before 10 p.m., followed by Mars at 2 a.m., Saturn at 5 a.m., Venus at 6 a.m., before finishing with Mercury at 7 a.m. – shortly before sunrise, according to Earth Sky. The brightest planet is Venus, followed by Jupiter and Saturn; Stargazers are advised to find Venus and Saturn first as points of reference for pinpointing the location of the other planets.
Depending on weather conditions, the planets will be visible nightly until February 20, when Jupiter disappears below the horizon leaving four remaining planets in the sky.
The best locations to view the phenomenon are away from light pollution with a southward orientation, including southern areas of UBC, the southern face of Queen Elizabeth Park at Little Mountain, Iona Beach Regional Park, Richmond, and Delta.
Some of the regular locations for viewing the Northern Lights, such as Spanish Banks and Porteau Cove, are not advised.