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Don’t forget to look up this weekend to see the start of a rare alignment of five planets adorning the night sky.
Beginning in the early morning hours of Friday, June 3, the five planets of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will align in the order of the planets.
This rare phenomenon has not occurred since December 2004, and this year, the distance between Mercury and Saturn will be smaller, according to Sky & Telescope.
Space magazine said stargazers will need their binoculars on hand along with a clear view of the eastern horizon to spot Mercury near the start of the month. As June progresses, Mercury will get brighter and easier to see, according to Diana Henekainen, Observing Editor at Sky & Telescope.
She added that the rest of the planets must be visible to the naked eye constantly.
She said the best time to view the five planets is 30 minutes before sunrise. The night before you plan your alignment show, check out the sunrise in your area.
Some stargazers are particularly enthusiastic about the celestial event, including Hanekainen. She traveled from her home west of Boston to a seaside town along the Atlantic Ocean to secure a perfect view of the alignment.
“I’ll be right up there with speculum, looking east and southeast and cutting all my fingers and toes until it’s clear,” Hanekainen said.
You don’t have to travel to look at the event because it will be visible to people all over the world.
Stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere can see planets from the eastern horizon to the southeastern horizon while those in the Southern Hemisphere should look along the eastern horizon to the northeastern horizon. The only requirement is a clear sky in the direction of the alignment.
If you wake up and the weather is blocking the sky, you don’t have to worry, Hannekainen said.
“Keep looking around all June and once you have a clear morning, go out and enjoy this view,” she said.
In addition to the five planets, the crescent will also be in alignment between Venus and Mars on June 24.
Henekäinen said that unlike in the days before, this particular celestial alignment can be seen in the hour before sunrise.
By the next day, the moon will have continued its orbit around the Earth, knocking it out of alignment with the planets, she said.
If you miss the alignment of the five planets in sequential order, the next one will occur in 2040, according to Sky & Telescope.
There will be seven more full moons in 2022, according to the Old Farmers’ Almanac:
- June 14: Strawberry Moon
- July 13: Pak Mun
- August 11: Sturgeon Moon
- September 10: Harvest Moon
- October 9: Hunter’s Moon
- November 8: Beaver Moon
- December 7: Cold Moon
These are the common names associated with the monthly full moons, but the significance of each may vary for different Native American tribes.
There will be another total lunar and partial solar eclipses in 2022, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
A partial solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun but blocks only some of its light. Be sure to wear the appropriate eclipse glasses to view the solar eclipse safely, as sunlight can damage the eyes.
A partial solar eclipse on October 25 will be visible to those in Greenland, Iceland, Europe, northeastern Africa, the Middle East, western Asia, India and western China. None of the partial solar eclipses will be visible from North America.
A total lunar eclipse will also be visible to those in Asia, Australia, the Pacific, South America and North America on November 8 between 3:01 a.m. ET and 8:58 a.m. ET — but the moon will be absent for those in the eastern regions of North America.
Check out the 11 remaining showers that will peak in 2022:
- Southern Delta constellation: July 29-30
- Capricorn Alpha: July 30 to 31
- Perseids: August 11-12
- Orionids: from 20 to 21 October
- Southern Torres: 4-5 November
- North Torres: November 11-12
- Leonids: 17-18 November
- Geminids: From December 13 to 14
- Ursids: from December 21 to 22
If you live in an urban area, you may want to drive somewhere where the city lights aren’t scattered for the best view.
Look for an open area with a wide view of the sky. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so you can look straight. Give your eyes about 20 to 30 minutes – without looking at your phone or other electronic devices – to adjust to the darkness so that the meteors are easier to spot.