Rare Planetary Event – June 2022.
The mid-summer sky is set to offer some magnificent views for astronomy fans this June. For those lucky enough to have caught Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Saturn in alignment in April 2022 this will be another rare occasion to tick off the bucket list.
To begin, all five of the planets visible to the un-aided eye (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) will be visible in the eastern sky at the same time. Not only will they be visible at the same time, but they will also be in order of distance from the sun. An event that has not happened since December 2004.
This event has been visible in the sky since early June, around 30 – 40 minutes before sunrise. However, due to Mercury’s proximity to the horizon, it has been a bit of a challenge to see all 5 planets unaided so far. This will change as the month progresses, with Mercury reaching its furthest elongation (apparent distance) from the Sun on the 16th June.
On 24th of June, the crescent moon will also join the party, sliding in between Venus and Mars. On 27th the position of the moon will close in towards Mercury and should help those struggling to see this planet to catch a glimpse.
Get Your Scopes Ready!
As if that wasn’t enough, they will be joined by the other planets in the solar system later in the month – Uranus and Neptune, but you will need binoculars or a telescope to see these two planets. Uranus and Neptune will not be in order like the other 5 planets, but their presence in the dawn sky to complete the set will be no less magnificent.
It’s not too uncommon to be able to see all the planets within the space of a few days of each other. But to have them all visible in the sky at the same time, is a much rarer event.
When was the last time all 7 planets were seen together in the night sky?
It’s very rare to have all 7 planets in the sky at the same time, and to have them all in order and in alignment is unlikely, if at all possible. This is due to the tilt of their orbits and orientation to the sun. If you can imagine, for one element of the problem, how far the outer planets need to travel to complete an orbit of the Sun, it becomes easier to see why this is so rare.
Thankfully the 5 innermost planets, the visible ones, align in order two or three times every century, and gather in the night sky in an assortment of alignments more regularly than that.
Other Celestial Events Coming Up In June 2022
- June 21st Summer Solstice. Longest day of the year arrives!
- June 22nd Waning Crescent Moon near Mars. The moon continues to add highlight to the planets in the morning sky.
- June 25th The Diminishing Crescent moon slides between Mars and Venus in the morning sky. On the morning of the 26th June it will be in close proximity to Venus, and with the Pleiades above will offer another great view for unaided eyes. Either of these mornings will be great, but you will need to be early at this time of year!
- June 27th Very slim crescent moon near Mercury, possibly the best opportunity to see all 5 planets in the sky on this morning.