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Let the moon guide you to a cool five-planet eyeful this month

NASA releases a video guide to a solar system phenomenon that hasn't happened in more than 10 years.

While it takes a telescope to see any detail from the planets in our solar system, you can actually observe quite a bit with the naked eye. During the month of February, just before dawn, you'll be able to see a bit more than usual.

In its "What's Up for February 2016" video, NASA explains that for the first time since 2005, Earthlings will be able to see Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter in an arc spread out against the dawn sky.

To help you find this planetary lineup, NASA suggests using the moon as your guide.

"Look for reddish Mars near the moon in the early morning of February 1," says narrator Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "Then, on the 3rd, the moon passes near butterscotch-hued Saturn. On the 6th, the moon, Mercury and Venus make a pretty triangle before sunrise. Then it's Jupiter's turn to pose with the moon on the 23rd."

The five planets will only be viewable in the morning sky till February 20, so if you do wait till the 23rd to use the moon to guide you to Jupiter, it will only be accompanied by Saturn and Mars, as Mercury and Venus will be below the horizon. The moon will be back beside Mars again on February 29, Leap Day.

If you don't like waking up early, you can try to catch all five planets again in August's sunset sky, but be aware that Mercury and Venus will be very close to the horizon for observers in the Northern Hemisphere, so they might not be visible above hills, mountains and tall tree lines.

This month, you can also catch the comet Catalina in the night sky. It will be visible by the North Star Polaris, found in the handle of the Little Dipper constellation. Another way to find Polaris, as you might remember from high school astronomy class, is to look for the two stars that form the outer edge of the Big Dipper's cup and point straight at it.

If all that doesn't satisfy your planet-gazing needs, you can grab a pair of binoculars and point them toward the moon. Just below it all month long, you might be able to pick out Uranus to the lower right in about the 5 o'clock position, and Vesta -- the brightest object in the asteroid belt -- closer in, at about the 7 o'clock position.