For the first time in 18 years, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will align in order through the end of June, luminating a surreal astronomical scene. This “parade of planets” hasn’t been viewable from Earth since 2004, and experts say it won’t happen again until 2040. The rare planet alignment can viewed all month, but best day for viewing will be this Friday, June 24th, when the waning crescent moon lines up with the planets. If you look towards the southeast, you will be able to see the moon positioned between Venus and Mars.
You won’t need a telescope to catch this phenomenon, but you’ll want to wake up about 45 minutes to an hour before sunrise to get the best views. Because of summer solstice, keep in mind that the sun rises earlier in June, so expect to be awake by 5 a.m. if you want to see this galactic parade. If you manage to get up before dawn, you should be able to clearly see Mercury low on the horizon.
You’ll still be able to view Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn during early mornings in July, but the group of planets will spread out farther and farther as the month goes on. Since this phenomenon won’t happen again for another 18 years, are you waking up early to see this “parade”?