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Watch a Rare 5-Planet Alignment Peak in the Sky This Weekend

Watch a Rare 5-Planet Alignment Peak in the Sky This Weekend
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A rare alignment of five planets will peak on June 24, allowing for a spectacular view of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn as they line up in planetary order.

The event began in early June and has continued to get brighter and easier to see as the month has progressed, according to Diana Hannikainen, observing editor for Sky & Telescope.

A waning crescent moon will join the party between Venus and Mars on Friday, adding another celestial object to the lineup. The moon will represent the relative position of the Earth in the alignment, which means that this is where our planet will appear in the planetary order.

This rare phenomenon has not occurred since December 2004, and this year the distance between Mercury and Saturn will be less, according to Sky & Telescope.

Stargazers will need to have a clear view of the eastern horizon to spot the incredible phenomenon, Hannikainen said. Humans can see the planetary spectacle with the naked eye, but binoculars are recommended for the optimal viewing experience, she added.

The best time to see all five planets is an hour before sunrise, he said. The night before you plan to watch the lineup, check when will the sun rise in your area.

Some stargazers are especially excited about the celestial event, including Hannikainen. He flew from his home west of Boston to a seaside town along the Atlantic Ocean to ensure an optimal view of the lineup.

“I’ll be out there with my binoculars, looking east and southeast and crossing my fingers and toes so it’s clear,” Hannikainen said.

You don’t have to travel to catch a glimpse of the action because it will be visible to people all over the world.

Stargazers in the northern hemisphere can view the planets from the eastern horizon to the southeast, while those in the southern hemisphere must look along the eastern horizon to the northeast. The only requirement is a clear sky in the direction of the alignment.

By the next day, the moon will have continued its orbit around Earth, putting it out of alignment with the planets, he said.

If the alignment of the five planets in sequential order is lost, 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: Buckmoon
  • August 11: Sturgeon Moon
  • September 10: Harvest Moon
  • October 9: Hunter’s Moon
  • November 8: Beaver Moon
  • December 7: cold moon

These are the popular names associated with the monthly full moons, but the meaning of each can be vary among Native American tribes.

There will be one more total lunar eclipse and one partial solar eclipse in 2022, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Partial solar eclipses occur when the moon passes in front of the sun but only blocks part of its light. Be sure to wear proper eclipse glasses to safely view solar eclipses, as sunlight can damage your eyes.

A partial solar eclipse on October 25 will be visible to those in Greenland, Iceland, Europe, northeast 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 on display for 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 set for those in the eastern regions of North America.

Take a look at the remaining 11 showers peaking in 2022:

  • South Delta Aquarids: July 29 to 30
  • Alpha Capricorns: July 30 to 31
  • Perseids: August 11 to 12
  • Orionids: October 20-21
  • South Taurids: November 4 and 5
  • Northern Taurids: November 11-12
  • Leonidas: November 17 to 18
  • Geminids: December 13 to 14
  • Ursids: December 21 to 22

If you live in an urban area, you may want to drive somewhere that isn’t plagued by city lights to get the best view.

Find an open area with a wide view of the sky. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so he can look up. And give your eyes 20 to 30 minutes, without looking at your phone or other electronic devices, to adjust to the dark so meteors are easier to spot.

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