It’s stargazing highlight of. But how much do we know about the five naked-eye planets that will grace the southeastern sky this weekend and through June 2022?
This is everything you need to know about Mercury, Venus Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars stretching across the sky. It starts Friday, June 3, 2022. But it will get easier over three weeks.
1. It all happens before sunrise
There is some bad news. To see Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars closest to the horizon, you’ll need to rise before sunrise. These last four planets should be easy to spot, but it will take some effort and binoculars (or an unobstructed eastern view) to see much of Mercury. Keep trying for Mercury throughout June, even if you don’t succeed. It will rise higher into the sky before dawn.
2. It takes only 30 minutes to view it
Because the Sun rises shortly after Mercury, timing is crucial. timeanddate.com allows you to enter your city and change the date to June 3, or June 4, and then scroll down to find out when Mercury rises in your area. This is when you should set your alarm. If you don’t have binoculars or a low view of the sky, you can still see the other planets in darker skies if you get up earlier (in this case Venus-rise is a good time).
3. They will appear in the Sun’s order.
A remarkable twist of events will see the naked-eye planets arranged in the natural order they were created by the Sun, spanning 91deg. This is the closest they have been in about 100 years. Mercury (the darkest) will be first, followed by Venus (the most bright) at 18o. These inner planets orbit the Sun much closer than Earth. Mars (4o) from Jupiter (the second-brightest) will follow. Saturn is 39o away. An equivalent view of the Sun hasn’t been possible since 2004, and it won’t be possible again until 2041 to see an alignment such as this.
4. It’s an optical illusion
It’s not a matter of alignment, but they are just in line-of sight. To have the planets appear in the same view, they must be all clustered on the one side of the solar systems . However, they will be millions of miles away from each other as well as Earth. Except for Earth’s orbit, which takes it to a spot in space where other planets appear as a line, is not actually.
5. Two extra planets can be found with a telescope
They are too small to be seen with the naked eye (and difficult to see in binoculars), and they don’t have the correct position relative to the Sun. However, if you have a small telescope, you can find Uranus or Neptune in pre-dawn’s night sky. Neptune will be between Jupiter and Saturn, and Uranus between Mercury and Venus. If you are a “Pluto Is a Planet” person, then yes, your beloved dwarf planet is also up there due south of Saturn. However, it is too small to be seen with anything other than a large telescope.
6. It is easy to see a sixth bonus planet
Now you are looking at the planets and counting them as you see them. Give your neck a break and look at your feet. Six! It is only fair that Earth be included in your solar system collection.
7. It will not affect your mood or any other aspect of your life.
It’s cool to see the “planetary parade”. That’s it. The positions of the planets in space do not affect life on Earth. There are no floods, strange energy, or anything. It’s all about the line-of sight of distant objects. What effect could their alignment have on…anything? It’s likely that you woke up too early and your mood is deteriorating.
8. It will happen again in the next month
The appeal of the planet parade is its ability to view all the planets within 91o. However, it will get easier (read about Mercury) later in the month. Sky & Telescope magazine says that the planetary lineup of Friday, June 24, 2022, will be even more impressive, despite being over 107o. Mercury will be easier than ever and you will have approximately an hour to locate all five planets.