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5 planets align in the sky in June: Best time to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn group in morning sky

Mars (Madhav fallusion/WikiCommons)

For the first time in 18 years, the five brightest planets in the sky will appear closely aligned and in their correct order from the sun.

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — the five planets visible to the naked eye — can be spotted before dawn throughout the month, according to Sky & Telescope.

To see them, look close to the horizon in the east and southeast in the hour or half-hour before sunrise.

The planets’ alignment is not “incredibly rare,” Diana Hannikainen, the astronomy magazine’s observing editor, told NPR. The planets last appeared sequentially in 2004 and will do so again in 2040.

“But it’s rare enough that if we get the opportunity to step outside in the morning and check it out, it’s worth it,” she said.

Though the five planets are visible throughout June shortly before sunrise, Mercury will be harder to spot early in the month. Seeing it will require a good view of the eastern horizon and a pair of binoculars, which can gather light that is tough to spot with the naked eye.

But as the month progresses, Mercury will climb higher in the sky and grow significantly brighter, completing the left-to-right alignment of planets.

On June 24, the moon will also join the alignment, conveniently placed where the earth would be — between Venus and Mars. To see it, look to the east and southeast roughly 45 minutes before sunrise.


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