Watch the grand parade of 5 planets next to the Moon tonight
A great planetary parade is about to take place. (Artistic image: Star Walk 2).

Tonight is probably the best night to see the spectacular planetary alignment that takes place in June. Tonight you may see a large planetary parade next to the Moon. Five planets will cross the sky, and you don’t even need a telescope to see them.

What time to see the planetarium parade? The Moon is the first to appear, around midnight. Beginning at 1:00 a.m., the planets will begin to rise: beginning with Saturn, around 1:00 a.m. in your local time; Jupiter is visible from 3:00 am; Mars rises just behind the gas giant, around 3:20 a.m.; it follows Venus at 5:30 a.m. and finally Mercury just before sunrise (5:45 a.m.).

Since Mercury is the last to go, it’s also the hardest to see. Besides not being the brightest, it comes out just before sunrise. For this reason, you should take advantage of mid-June, when Mercury appears earlier. Tonight, On June 16, Mercury will be at its greatest westward elongation. According to The Sky, the planet Mercury reaches its greatest western elongation of 23.2 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to see Mercury as it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky.

How and in which direction to see? To enjoy the event, you just have to look at the sky before dawn in the direction east-southeast. can be seen from any place, although you should take weather conditions into account: you need clear skies free of light pollution to enjoy it to the fullest. Also consider trajectory, departure time and celestial bodies setting, you can help yourself with software or mobile app. Here you have a long list of apps for astronomy lovers.

What is a planetary program or parade? The planets are not actually aligned in space, which means that if you could see the solar system “from above”, they would appear scattered. However, to terrestrial observers, they appear as if they were close to each other. Occasionally, the relative position of stars in the sky is shown aligned with Earth, so you can draw a line between them. As we mentioned, only our perspective occurs, and it rarely occurs with multiple planets.

According to Star Walk, although “planetary parade” is not an official term, it is often used and commonly referred to as the types of planetary parades:

  • Mini planet parade – 3 planets.
  • Little Planet Parade – 4 planets.
  • Grand Parade of Planets – 5 or 6 planets.
  • Full (large) parade of planets – all planets in the solar system (+ sometimes Pluto).

Neptune and Uranus will also be present at the party. The difference is that these planets are not visible to the naked eye. If you have observation equipment, such as a suitable telescope, you can try to capture it. Use software or a mobile app to locate them.

Alignments of the five planets visible without the aid of telescopes are very rare, the last time this happened was in 2020 and before that in 2016 and 2005. You don’t want to miss this opportunity. Clear sky!

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