The five planets are moving in a rare system that will be visible from Earth this week. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – in this order – line up for the first time since December 2004. On Friday, June 24, the phenomenon will be more visible to astrologers.
Although it is common to observe the connections of three planets close to each other, seeing five of them is rare, according to the Heaven and Telescope. The planets align in their natural order away from the sun, which is also wonderful, according to the American Journal of the American Astronomical Society.
The five planets known as the “naked eye” were visible from June 3 to 4, and the formation could be seen through binoculars – but only for half an hour before Mercury disappeared in the sunlight.
But on June 24, television viewing will be optimal. “Even if the distance between Mercury and Saturn were increasing, Mercury would be easier to see, so it would gradually be easier to see all five planets,” Sky & Telescope observer Diana Hanekainen said in an email to CBS News.
Henekainen said the sky at midnight would “present a magnificent spectacle”, as the waning crescent would also take part in the procession between Venus and Mars.
The planets should be visible a few days earlier. Sky & Telescope says the best time to see the line on June 24 is 45 minutes before sunrise. It should be visible on the eastern horizon.
Four naked eye planets have been lined up in recent months, NASA said. But in the coming months, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter and Venus will spread. By September, Venus and Saturn will no longer be visible to most observers.
Another astronomical phenomenon will occur in June: the M13 spherical cluster, a tightly packed spherical star cluster. NASA says M13, also known as the Hercules Squadron, contains thousands of stars believed to be about 12 billion years old – about the same age as the universe.