Astronomy nerds already know that Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter will be aligned in the sky for the first time in a decade, and you’ll be able to view them in the wee hours of the morning till Feb 20. Sounds like a good idea for a Valentine’s Day date. Or some self-affirming, single person soul-searching.
According to Zong Yang, the External Coordinator and former President of NTU’s Astronomical Society, the best time to view this phenomenon in Singapore is around 4-5am in the morning. You’ll also have to face the sunrise, so we suggest grabbing a spot around East Coast Park.
As for equipment, he recommends a telescope with an 80x magnification, or the Maksutov 90mm model. With it, you can see Jupiter’s cloud band, Saturn’s rings and the phases of Venus. You’ll still be able to see the planets sans equipment,but they will look like stars. You can buy or rent a telescope from Astro Bargains, the Astro Scientific Centre or the McGill Commercial House.
If you can’t be bothered to wake up that early, with or without telescope, there are your regular astronomy options. You can head to the Science Centre every Friday from 7:50-10pm to learn more about astronomy. The Astronomical Society of Singapore also organizes trips to Pulau Semakau to observe the night sky. The next trip is in May, a bit late for this particular phenomenon, but still. Find out more by signing up here.
If you’re interested in astrophotography, check out Justin Ng’s photo series of Singapore’s night sky here and use his app to take some stunning pictures.