The image shows the view from New York City, USA, at 04:40 (4:40 am) local time on June 24. (Credit: Timeanddate.com).
5 naked-eye planets welcome early risers in June, but now is the time to look skyward. We are in the best days, because in addition to the 5 planets, the Moon was added. An alignment of 5 planets with the naked eye is rare, the last time they were like this on the horizon was in 2004, so seeing all this including our natural satellite is a very special occasion. But that’s not all, actually all 7 planets are present, only Neptune and Uranus are seen through binoculars or a telescope.
What time to see the lineup? They will be seen leaving in a kind of parade. Starting at 1 am the planets will begin to rise: starting with Saturn, around 00:30 am in your local time; Jupiter can be seen from 2:30 am; Mars rises just behind the gas giant, at approximately 3:30 am; it follows Venus at 5:30 am and finally Mercury just before sunrise (5:40 am). The Moon will appear between Mars and Venus. Please note that the times mentioned are for June 24if you see on another day it may vary a bit.
According to Sky & Telescope magazine, the early morning planetary alignment of June 24 is more attractive compared to the other days of the month. This Mercury date relatively easy to grasp, which will make the parade of five planets much more accessible. Also, the real advantage is that the waning Moon will be located between Venus and Mars, serving as a representation of the Earth. At this time of the month, the planets are more spread out in the sky: the distance between Mercury and Saturn will be 107°.
How and in what direction to see? To enjoy the event you just have to look up at the sky before dawn in the direction east-southeast. can be seen from any place, although you must consider the weather conditions: you need a clear sky and free of light pollution to enjoy it to the fullest. Also take into account the trajectory, time of departure and setting of the celestial bodies, you can help with a software or mobile application. Here you have a long list of applications for astronomy lovers.
What is a planetary lineup or parade? The planets are not actually aligned in space, which means that if you could see from “above” the solar system, they would appear spread out. However, to terrestrial observers they appear as if they are close to each other. From time to time the relative position of the stars in the sky is shown aligned from the Earth, in such a way that you could draw a line between them. As we mentioned, only our perspective occurs, and it rarely occurs with multiple planets.
According to Star Walk, although “planetary parade” is not an official term, it is used often and commonly these are the types of planetary parades:
- Mini planet parade – 3 planets.
- Little Planet Parade – 4 planets.
- Grand parade of planets – 5 or 6 planets.
- Full (grand) parade of planets – all the planets of the Solar System (+ sometimes Pluto).
How to see Neptune and Uranus? As we mentioned, these planets are not visible to the naked eye, so you need an observation team. By June 24, Uranus is between the Moon and Venus, while Neptune appears between Jupiter and Saturn.
Take the opportunity to see tonight, the Moon is out of alignment for tomorrow and in the next few days the planets will be rapidly distancing. Clear skies!
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