The planetary alignment of June 2022
If you missed the planet parade of April 2022, you’ve got another golden opportunity to witness the grand planetary alignment that will take place in late June. All the seven planets will almost seem to align in the predawn sky, and five of them will be visible with unaided eyes. Starting from the horizon, they include Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
The most remarkable thing about this planetary alignment is that these five planets will appear in the sky in the same order as their distance from the Sun. This orderly alignment of the planets is happening after 18 years. The last time they appeared in the sky in this order was in December 2004. In this article, I will be telling you all the important dates related to the grand celestial alignment and how to see all planets in the predawn sky.
Before we start, make sure to download one of these space apps. They will surely help you locate the planets quickly according to your place.
Where are all the planets?
Let’s begin with Mercury, the planet missing in the April planetary alignment. The tiniest planet in the solar system will be challenging to observe in the first ten days of June because of its proximity to the Sun. However, Mercury will reach its greatest elongation west on June 17. Hence, it will be fairly visible in the eastern predawn sky after mid-June.
The next is Venus which rules the early morning sky. Venus is the brightest speck of light visible in the east before it’s lost to morning twilight. Further up, you’ll find Mars and then Jupiter. These two planets will appear close to each other because they had spectacular conjunction on May 30, when they passed within a few arcminutes of each other. Jupiter will be the brighter of the two. In fact, the gas giant will be the brightest speck of light in the predawn sky, only after Venus. Mars, at an apparent magnitude of 0.61, will be a faint speck compared to Jupiter.
Finally, Saturn is further away from Jupiter, shining high in the southern sky. The ringed planet will appear as a faint speck almost as bright as Mars. Jupiter and Saturn are approaching their oppositions, and their brightness will keep increasing as days pass by.
As far as the solar system’s ice giants are concerned, Neptune will be visible between Jupiter and Saturn. Uranus will be relatively closer to the horizon, between Venus and Mars. Unfortunately, these two planets can only be seen through a telescope or a pair of binoculars.
To get the best view of the alignment, be at your viewing spot about 30 minutes before sunrise. For most, an ideal spot should have a clear view of the horizon toward the east.
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Although the grand celestial alignment of June 2022 will be visible throughout the second half of the month, the best date to see his show is June 24. If you are not an early bird and just want to see this planetary alignment once, mark this date on your calendar. That’s because, on June 24, the 25-day-old-waning-crescent Moon will join the parade. The Moon will lie between Mars and Venus, filling the large apparent angular gap between the two planets. As the Moon travels across the constellations in its cycle, it will pass close to Saturn on June 19, Jupiter on June 22, Mars on June 23, Venus on June 26, and Mercury on June 27.
As the Moon passes close to these five planets, it will pass in front of Uranus on June 25, temporarily hiding the planet. However, the lunar occultation of Uranus can only be seen through a telescope from a small part of the world.
Lastly, don’t be disappointed if you don’t see Mercury in your first attempt. The tiny planet is the hardest to spot, especially in the Northern hemisphere during this time of the year when the nights are pretty short. Apart from the grand planetary alignment, June 2022 does not have much in its store; no bright comets, no significant meteor showers, and no eclipses.
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