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Astronomical phenomenon makes it easier to see the solar system

Eyes to the sky: Leonid meteor shower peaks this weekend
Posted at 9:55 PM, Nov 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-14 21:55:27-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla — Friday's space x launch isn't the only out of this world event happening in the galaxy.

Celestial circumstances are underway, making it easy for you to see planets like Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and others in the sky.

While it may seem supernatural, astronomer Derek Bushazi says there's nothing really magical about it.

"They all sort of orbit the sun at different speeds, so what we have now is a nice chance alignment, so essentially all of the planets are visible," Bushazi says.

But depending on what time of day you venture out determines what you might catch a glimpse of.

"So in the morning, if you go out before dawn and look on the eastern horizon, you'll see Mercury and Venus, and at night, and during the night, all of the other planets are visible," Bushazi says.

Some planets will be visible to the naked eye, including mercury venus and mars... but you could also use gear like binoculars or a telescope.

According to Heather Preston, the director of the planetarium at the Calusa Nature Center, sales on both have increased all due to the pandemic.

"People have a lot of time on their hands, they can't go out in the evening anymore, and some places are closed before 10, and so this is a great time to cultivate hobbies that you normally wouldn't have time for," Preston says.

But before rushing out to buy a telescope, she says overall size does not matter.

It's the size of the primary optic or the light collector that counts.

And if you set yourself up in a low-lit area and you'll be all set for a truly rewarding sight.

"You don't necessarily have to stay up really late; all of the planets that are visible after sunset are immediately visible, so as soon as it gets dark, you can see all the planets," Preston says.

"So if you're a morning person, you don't have to convert yourself to being a nighttime person. Just go out before sunrise and look towards the place where the sun is going to come up."

She also says that it's going to be much worse if you're downtown in Fort Myers, so try Fort Myers Beach.

"If you go inland more to places where fewer people live like the everglade area, you'll notice a huge difference in what you'll see," Preston says.

The alignment of the planets and the Leonid Meteor Shower will take place next week, peaking on November 16th.