Occasionally all the planets of the solar system are visible in the sky together. You can see this yourself before dawn in July from a location that gives you a clear view from eastern to western horizon. Observing all the planets spread out along the ecliptic; lets me see the solar system and my place in it. I've found this to a be a profound experience.
Jupiter will be setting in the west as Mercury rises in the east. The arrangement this July even includes Uranus (with binoculars), Neptune (with a telescope) and Pluto (needs a big telescope). For visual observers, Mercury is hard to see so want it far from the rising sun. Time is tight so concentrate on the visible planets the first time. You have a couple of weeks to try for the telescopic planets. Look for the thin crescent Moon between Mercury and Venus on July 17 and 18. Jupiter will be very close to the horizon after July 22.
The animation below shows the view from Austin, Texas between July 15 and July 26 at 5:45 AM Central Daylight Time. The best time will vary with the sunrise time your location.
In February 2016 the five visible planets and the crescent moon were in the sky at dawn. Follow the linked image below for a full size view of what an event like this can look like.
Content created: 2020-07-01
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