Cosmic catwalk: Stunning planet show about to launch in October

© Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Stargazers, prepare yourselves for a treat! Catch Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and finally Mercury strutting across the heavens and lighting up the morning sky in an unfolding planetary parade beginning about 60 to 90 minutes before sunrise.

We break down the how’s and when’s for you in this comprehensive guide to October’s celestial pageant.

The good news is you will be able to witness the cosmic show with the naked eye. The bad news is you will have to make sure to set your alarm, because taking in this spectacle requires getting up before dawn – 60 to 90 minutes before sunrise.  

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Saturn will be visible for the entire month of October before sinking and vanishing due to its lowering altitude.

Venus will make its first appearance on the 8th of October, hanging just to the left of a crescent moon. Jupiter and Mars will join a day later, on the 9th of October. You’ll be able to spot Jupiter, the king of planets, to the lower left of the moon.

Regulus, the brightest star in the Leo constellation, will appear just to the upper right of Venus.

You’ll need to be able to see the horizon to gaze at Mercury. It will make its most impressive morning appearance on October 15th, when it will look as if it’s close to the moon, though they’re really roughly 77 million kilometers apart.

Towards the end of the month, Jupiter and Venus will engage in another close encounter on the morning of October 25, yet unlike the previous one, Jupiter will be up first this time.

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Skywatchers will first be able to see Saturn, then Jupiter together with Mars and Venus, and later all will be joined by Mercury.

A small tip: use your clenched fist at arm’s length as a measure for distances.

For example on October 8th, Mars will be a fist to the left of the Moon.