During April and May 2004 four of the five naked eye planets are gathered together for convenient viewing as soon as it gets dark in the evening. On the 9th April I attached my Philips ToUCam Pro webcam to my 8-inch telescope to take a tour of them.
With the exception of Mars, which received attention last autumn, this was the first time I have used the webcam on the other planets, and I am amazed at the quality of Jupiter and Saturn, and pleased that their moons have come out so well too. All planets are presented at their actual sizes as seen by the webcam (0.3 arc seconds per pixel), though of course their different distances (quoted below for 9th April 2004) hides their true sizes. North is up and East is left, so the sun shines from the right.
Moving outwards from the Sun...
Of course the planets are not really this close together in the sky - to see where they really were see this picture I took on 24th April, looking west at 8.20pm BST. On this evening the crescent Moon (heavily over-exposed in the picture) passes through the group, but Jupiter is high in the south so is not possible to include in the same shot.
Picture added on 1 May 2004