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Every Planet Will Be Viewable In The Night Sky At Once This Month

All seven planets will be visible at the same time in late June, and you can see five of them in a line with the naked eye.

author

Stephen Luntz

Freelance Writer

clockJun 9 2022, 09:36 UTC
Mars, Jupiter and Venus visible over the lights of Canberra and Lake Burley-Griffin
Mars, Jupiter and Venus seen together over Canberra in 2015. Ths month they will be joined by all four other planets, and the visible five will be in the correct order. Image credit: MomentsforZen

For early risers equipped with telescopes, June will offer the opportunity to see all seven planets at the one time as Mercury emerges from the Sun's glare. Everyone else can make do with five visible planets in their correct order.

The planets are all in the eastern sky around 45 minutes before sunrise, although Mercury in particular is still so low you will need a clear view east to see it. In fact, depending on your latitude even a view to the horizon may not be enough to see Mercury just yet, but a few more days should fix that. Mercury will reach its greatest apparent distance from the Sun on June 16.

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For those not confident in their capacity to distinguish stars from planets, June 27 might be the best morning to choose. The crescent Moon and Mercury will be close enough in the sky the innermost planet will be easy to find. Venus is so bright it is almost unmissable, and the two will point a line to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

The five naked-eye planets line up every few years, and half the time that is in the more convenient evening sky. Two things are special about this alignment, however. Firstly the planets follow the same order away from the Sun across the sky from our perspective as they do in reality. Moreover this time the other two planets (sorry Pluto fans) will be there as well.

Technically speaking Uranus is also a naked-eye planet since some people with exceptional eyesight can spot it under very dark skies. Most of us need binoculars, however. Uranus is not joining in with the whole correct order thing, instead, being seen in the gap between Venus and Mars. It may be easiest to spot on June 24 or 25 when the crescent Moon will appear to pass it.

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Meanwhile, Neptune is also in the morning sky, but also out of sequence, trailing around 10 degrees behind Jupiter, and will require a telescope.

The opportunity to see the five planets together follows several months of four of them dancing together, including on May 1 when Venus and Jupiter were so closely aligned they almost looked like one object

A few opportunities to see conjunctions remain, however. Venus and the Moon are set to make a beautiful sight together on the morning of June 26 and again on July 26. On August 1, Mars and Uranus will be close enough that they will be seen together in binoculars, providing an easy way to spot the seventh planet. There'll be an even better, but much briefer opportunity to find Uranus (isn't it time you stopped sniggering) on June 25, when the Moon will actually pass in front of it from some locations. Other parts of the world will also get opportunities to see the Moon block out Uranus in subsequent months.


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