Sky Watch: Inner Solar System Tour

Mercury, Venus, and Mars align in the southeast sky, offering a brief celestial show in late January and early February.

January 28, 2024
ILLUSTRATION BY STAURT FUNK
In the late days of January and early February, you have an opportunity to see all the planets of the inner solar system together. Start looking to the southeast a bit before 6 a.m. and find bright Venus near the horizon. Below and to the left, you’ll see two faint dots rising to form a line with Venus. Mercury will be the lowest with Mars in between them. Mercury, Venus, and Mars will be very near the horizon as morning twilight sets in, so this will be a significantly challenging observation that will require an exceedingly clear view. A great place to try spotting all the inner planets will be along Varner Road north of Thousand Palms.

Each month, Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory astronomer Eric McLaughlin spotlights a notable celestial event. For information about the observatory, visit ranchomiragelibrary.org/observatory.