Look for! Friday is the best time to see this rare ‘parade’ of five planets in the sky, experts say – NBC Chicago


Set your alarm clock for Friday about 45 minutes before sunrise or you’ll miss it.

For the first time in nearly two decades, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will all be visible – at the same time – to the naked eye in the sky.

And while the celestial event has been happening all week (and all month in one form or another), the best time to see it, experts say, will be early Friday morning.

According to Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, this rare “parade” alignment of five planets began earlier this month, when Saturn rose on June 14. Later in the morning came Jupiter, then Mars, down and to the left. These two planets were much closer at the start of the month, but drifted apart as the month progressed.

Around the second half of June, below and to the left of Venus – the brightest planet – Mercury became visible.

This week and next, the Moon will move near each planet, Adler said. On June 22, a waning crescent moon appeared to the right of Mars.

Here is the rest of this program:

  • June 26: A very thin waning crescent moon appears left to the left of Venus
  • June 27: An even thinner crescent appears to the left of Mercury

What makes planetary alignment rare?

While it’s common to see two planets appear close to each other in the night sky, the celestial phenomenon – known as conjunction – is much rarer when multiple planets are involved.

After June, the planets will begin to spread out across the sky before dawn, “so much so that Venus and Saturn will emerge as morning objects for most observers by September,” according to NASA. .

How and when to see the roster

You will have to get up early.

Look up, about 45 minutes before sunrise — about a third of the distance above the southern horizon line, then east and northeast, Adler said.

The planetary alignment will continue until June 30. Venus and Jupiter will be the brightest and easiest to see.

If the conditions are clear, the planets should be bright enough to see with the naked eye.

Mercury, being closest to the horizon, appeared faintest in the sky earlier this month, but became easier to spot as the month progressed, according to Sky & Telescope.

What is the best day to see the roster?

According to Sky & Telescope, the best time to see the show could be June 24.

On that date, astronomers will have about an hour to view the alignment, from “from the time Mercury appears above the horizon to the time the rising Sun washes it from the sky.”

How to know if you are looking at a planet or a star

According to Adler, stars twinkle and planets don’t.

NBC Chicago

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