Early Bird Sees The Planets

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Decatur, IL - If you're an early riser, grab your coffee and head out to the porch for some star gazing. Oh, no concerns. You won't need your telescope or even binoculars. You'll be able to view this limited engagement with the naked eyes. This isn't your ordinary peek at the moon or Mars. This is phenomenal viewing of several planets aligned. Until February 20th you'll be able to see Mercury, Saturn, Venus, Mars and Jupiter all in a line on the horizon to the moon. That's five planets for the price of one visit and you'll be able to revisit this spectacle each morning until then. According to Dr. John Martin, Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics at the University of Illinois at Springfield the best viewing is 90 to 45 minutes prior to sunrise on the Southern Horizon. Dr. Martin says this typically occurs every decade but take advantage of it now, especially if you have a clear view south. The Dr.says the next BIG astronomical event for us in Central Illinois will be in the Summer of 2017 when the path of a Total Eclipse will cut a swath of darkness from southwest to northeast across the prairie. So grab your coffee or tea and a jacket and enjoy the heavenly show.

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