Set your alarm and wake up early on Sunday 19 July. About 45 minutes before sunrise, you will be able to see five planets and the crescent moon without using a telescope. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn as well as the moon will all be visible.
Jeffrey Hunt, an astronomy educator and former planetarium director who wrote about the event in a post on his website, When the Curves Line Up, talked to me about how to best get a glimpse.
“Get outside early in the morning, at least an hour before sunrise,” Hunt said. Find the four bright planets – Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. They look like too bright stars. Luminous Venus is low in the east-northeast. Mars is the lone “star” in the southeast, and Jupiter and Saturn are the stars in To your eyes, they do not look like photos taken by spaceships, only to bright stars. “
Mercury can be the most difficult to detect. Hunt advises trying for Mercury about 45 minutes before sunrise and using binoculars.
On its website, Hunt offers tips for finding each planet. Venus, he says, will “flame in the eastern sky.” The thin crescent moon will be very low in the east-northeast part of the sky and will only be about 1 percent illuminated. Mercury will be to the right of the moon, Mars will be about halfway up the sky in the south-southeast, Jupiter will be just above the horizon in the southwest, and Saturn will be to the left of Jupiter.
Newbie stargazers may want to seek technical assistance. “Google Sky, Night Sky and Star Walk are apps that can help early risers find the planets in the sky,” says Hunt.
The sight will be visible in both the northern and southern hemispheres. From the south of the equator, Hunt notes, Mars is in the northwest rather than southeast.
If you miss, you can still see the five planets in the sky for a few more mornings after July 19, but you will not see the moon.
“On consecutive mornings, watch 3-4 minutes earlier each day,” advises Hunt. “You can capture (the five planets) in the sky until about July 25.”
Miss this five-planet-and-moon collection, and you’ll have to wait a bit. We will see this meeting next at the end of June 2022, I told myself.
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