Five planets align in night sky for first time in 18 years

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 8:33 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - For the first time in 18 years, five planets will align in the southeastern sky, along the horizon, close to sunrise.

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will all be visible during the early morning hours before sunrise, weather permitting of course, through the rest of June. The best time to view this alignment is 30 to 60 minutes before sunrise, or from about 4:45 a.m. until 5:15 a.m. CDT.

You can view this spectacle with the naked eye without any special equipment, although binoculars or even a telescope are always handy, especially to pick out Mercury, which can be a bit tougher to spot at times. For best viewing conditions, pick a spot with a clear view — no buildings or trees — on the east and southeast horizon and in an area with as little artificial light pollution as possible.

On Friday, June 24, the view is expected to be particularly special as viewers should also be able to see the waning crescent moon between Venus and Mars.

Sky conditions in North Dakota should be favorable for viewing on Thursday morning, and then a few clouds might hinder the viewing opportunity on Friday morning.

Two or three planets strung across the sky is fairly common, but getting five planets aligned is rare. What makes this event even more unique is the planets are visible in their natural order from the sun. This hasn’t happened since December 2004 and the planets won’t appear in this order again until 2040!

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