5 Planets Will Align In the Night Sky This Month
Space buffs, break out your binoculars! A rare occurrence is currently going down, and will continue to occur this month.
Five planets in Earth’s solar system are aligned in the night sky. Those planets are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, in that order. This is so rare that it hasn’t happened since December of 2004 and isn’t reported to happen again until 2040—so you better get outside and check it out if you want to ever see something like this!
The planets are visible before dawn in the southeastern United States, which began on June 3. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll be able to see the planets in the low eastern sky and will soon stretch to the upper southern sky.
While using binoculars helps, you can actually likely see the planets aligned just by looking ito the sky. “Just keep looking throughout the month of June and as soon as you have a clear morning, go out and enjoy that view,” says Diana Hannikainen, observing editor of Sky & Telescope.
But where and when should you look? Experts say to search the eastern horizon about 30 minutes before sunrise. Plan in advance by checking your local sun-rising time and making sure you’re outside before it happens.
The event isn’t “incredibly rare,” Hannikainen says, adding that “it’s rare enough that if we get the opportunity to step outside in the morning and check it out, it’s worth it.”
One tip: Mercury might be the hardest planet to see. But Hannikainen says not to fret too much if you can’t find it. “Don’t be disappointed if you don’t catch Mercury early on,” she said. “Some people might be able to catch the five planets out early in the month, but not to be too disappointed. Four planets already is a beautiful, beautiful sight.
Plus, don’t forget, you have the entire month to look for the line-up! That means if the weather is poor one day, you still have lots of opportunities. Don’t miss them!
For even more special fun, mark your calendars for June 24, when the moon will be joining the planet lineup. That’s right, you’ll be able to see the moon right in between Venus and Mars, making six celestial bodies to line up together. The moon will only be visible for one day, and then it will continue circulating around the Earth.
Have you been able to spot the five planets aligned in the sky? Share a photo if so!