Planet Talk

Celestial Alignment

2 days ago, viewers all around the world were able to see the rare alignment of 5 planets. Throughout the month of June, the alignment has slowly progressed, continuing to get brighter and easier to see. This arrangement of planets includes Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, all seen in their orbital order. On Friday, a waning crescent moon also joined the party, aligned between Venus and Mars, filling in for Earth’s location in orbit.

The last time such a celestial event occurred was in 2004, and unfortunately, those who missed the view on Friday will not be able to capture the perfection until the year 2040! This weekend, the moon will continue its planetary tour, passing by each planet until its eventual halt by passing Mercury on June 27.

5 planet alignment

In order to witness this gorgeous phenomenon, stargazers should have a clear view of the horizon. As for which horizon, viewers in the Northern Hemisphere should turn to the eastern to the southeastern horizon, while those in the Southern Hemisphere should look along the eastern to the northeastern horizon. Though it is viewable with the naked eye, astronomers recommend the use of binoculars or other enhancing tools, such as telescopes, for the best sight. As for timing, the optimal experience occurs an hour before sunrise. Fortunately, no travel is necessary, as this celestial marvel can be seen worldwide!

Professor Lucie Green, space scientist and chief stargazer at the Society for Popular Astronomy, explains how viewers can best view the planetary conjunction. She claims to begin by looking for the planet furthest away, which is Saturn, and then proceed to count back through the planets. Stargazers will then find the bright planet Venus and then Mercury, the final planet in the line-up as well as the hardest to spot.

In addition, make sure to look out for the buck moon on July 13, 2022!


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