If you get up any morning for the next few weeks, you’ll be treated to the sight of all the planets except Saturn arrayed along the ecliptic, the path of the sun through the sky. For the last two months, almost all the planets have been hiding behind the sun, but this week they all emerge and are arrayed in a grand line above the rising sun. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are visible, and you can add Uranus and Neptune to your count if you have binoculars or a small telescope.
This sky map of the six planets shows how they should appear at dawn to observers with clear weather and an unobstructed view. Astrologers have always been fascinated by planetary alignments, and the doomsayers of 2012 have been prophesying a mystical alignment on Dec. 21, 2012. The modern tools of astronomers, such as planetarium software, show otherwise: absolutely no alignment at any time in 2012. But they also reveal a beautiful alignment visible during the month of May this year.