Five planets are set to line up in the dawn sky in a 'planetary parade' - here's how to see it

This is the second time this year five planets will align. Credit: AP

Five planets are set to line up at dawn on Saturday in a rare phenomenon.

Early risers with a good view of the horizon will get the best chance of spotting the alignment, also known as a planetary parade.

Here's how to catch it.

What is a planetary parade?

Alignments occur when the planets in the solar system are all roughly positioned in the same direction when viewed from Earth.

This is the second time this year five planets will align - before that, they aligned in June 2022 for the first time in nearly 20 years.

On this occasion, Mercury, Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn are the stars of the celestial show.

Don Pollacco, a professor at the University of Warwick’s Department of Physics, said: "Given that we understand the orbits of the planets, we can predict when these 'alignments' will occur.

"While the planets may look relatively close together in the sky they are of course separated by many millions of miles."

Keen amateur astronomers will be able to catch the alignment at dawn. Credit: PA

How can I see it?

Only some of the planets will be visible to the naked eye early on Saturday.

While Jupiter and Saturn will be easy to spot, Neptune and Uranus may require binoculars and Mercury will be visible for only a short space of time.

"While Jupiter and Saturn will be easy to spot by eye, Mercury will be more challenging as its proximity to the sun means that it is only just above the horizon and visible about an hour before sunrise," Professor Pollacco said.

"Neptune and Uranus need binoculars to be sure of seeing them – although some keen-sighted people can see Uranus unaided.

"Jupiter and Saturn will be bright objects that have a yellowy colour, Mercury often looks pink, and Uranus and Neptune pale white-green."

Saturn will be the first to rise, followed by Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus and Mercury.

When is the next planetary parade?

The next five-planet alignment will take place on April 20 2024.

It will be a morning parade with Venus, Mercury, Neptune, Mars, and Saturn.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...