A rare “planetary procession” is visible in the sky every morning this week, with a good viewing opportunity expected on Friday, June 24, with five planets lined up with the June crescent. Astronomy Specialists.
The five planets – known as “naked eye planets” because they can be seen without the use of binoculars or telescopes – are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. They are arranged in their natural order by the sun, the partial moon joining them before dawn.
Experts say this is the first time that five planets have been visible from our planet since December 2004. And this kind of big adjustment won’t happen again until 2040.
Viewing suggestions for planet alignment
Cape Bailey County astronomer and photographer Chris Bockley offered a number of suggestions and answered our questions for people who want to catch a glimpse of the five planets lined up with the moon in the morning sky this week.
Q: Can people see planet alignment from their own backyard? Or should they have the appearance of the horizon?
A: “Everyone can observe planetary alignment from their own backyards, but when all five planets are visible, Mercury and Venus are low on the horizon. I definitely recommend taking a trip to the clear eastern horizon. Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are all high in the sky.
Q: What is the best time to look at planets?
A: “I recommend you start looking at the alignment one hour before dawn.” (The sun rises at 5:26 pm on Thursday and Friday, in the Newark area, 5:27 pm on Thursday and Friday in the Belmar area, and 5:31 am on Thursday and Friday in the Atlantic City area.)
Q: Need a binocular?
A: “No binoculars or telescopes are required to view the alignment. But if you have them, now is the perfect time to break them! The planets are in line and relatively close; it is easy enough to view one planet, then move on to the next.
Q: What are the planets like? Small stars? The big stars? The brightest stars?
A: “Jupiter, Saturn and Venus are bright and clearly conspicuous among the stars. They are vibrant and very bright! Mercury is on the left of Jupiter and Mercury on the left of Venus. Use these planets to find others. Once you do, your eyes will be adjusted and you will be able to see the entire alignment. They form a perfect arc from east to south. On the morning of the 24th, the Moon joins the alignment and is in a perfect position between Mars and Venus.
Q: Can people see the five planets lined up together on any other morning before June 24?
A: “The best morning to watch it is June 24, because the moon is in its declining crescent phase. The moon is also in alignment and will be placed perfectly between Mars and Venus. It’s early morning to shoot! .
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