(ORDO NEWS) — Parades of planets, visible without the help of telescopes or binoculars, occur irregularly, only once every few years.
The last time this happened was in 2020, and before that, in 2016 and 2005. This year, all five planets will be simultaneously visible from late June to early July.
Mercury revolves around the Sun every 88 Earth days, Venus every 225 days, Mars every 687 days, Jupiter every 12 years, and Saturn every 29 years. Given such different times, the orbits of the planets bring them closer to each other at irregular intervals.
As seen in the northern hemisphere, Venus, Saturn and Mars began clustering in late March 2022, although whether they are far enough above the horizon to see them before sunrise depends on your location.
Observers farther east will be able to see them in the early morning hours, while those in the Pacific Northwest will see the cluster only an hour before sunrise.
The best day to watch the parade depends on local conditions. In areas with a flat horizon in the east, Mercury will be visible as early as June 10, astronomers say, but viewers with more screened views may be lucky to wait until the end of June. The parade will be visible until the beginning of July, when Mercury again falls below the horizon.
To distinguish planets from surrounding stars, look for steady light. The light of the planets is less influenced by the earth’s atmosphere than the light of the stars. Astronomers have a rule: “Stars twinkle, planets don’t.”
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