By the end of June you will be able to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in the sky.
The Solar System is not a static set of celestial bodies, on the contrary, the movement in it is a constant that gives us the most amazing astronomical phenomena. Precisely this universal dance is about to begin a perfect planetary alignment that can rarely be seen in the terrestrial sky. Five of the most important objects in our cosmic neighborhood will be seen in formation with the naked eye in the coming months.
What is a planetary alignment?
In astronomical terms, a conjunction or planetary alignment is a formation in which two or more planets can be observed at the same time from a given perspective, in this case, the terrestrial perspective. That is, it is a formation where two or more planets can be observed on the same night, very close to each other.
It must be said that the conjunction of more than three bodies is not very common, because the planets travel great distances around the Sun and do not always coincide with each other. However, soon we will be able to see five planets with the naked eye on the same night as they transit the ecliptic.
When we speak of planetary alignment, it is not always exactly a straight line drawn in the sky, as different factors such as planetary distances from our observation point influence the formation. However, the summer of 2022 will be special because it will give us an almost perfect rectilinear alignment of five planets suspended in the celestial vault.
When will the planets align?
The cosmic formation has been in the making since late March, as Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, the five planets closest to Earth, have been moving across the sky since then for the alignment that will be visible to the naked eye during the summer of 2022.
The planets have been appearing during the late morning hours when they can already be observed within a considerable range of visibility. However, they will gradually adjust their positions to finally culminate in the perfect alignment that will be seen at its best during the nights of late June and early July 2022.
How to see the planetary alignment?
The observation of the five perfectly aligned planets will be possible with the naked eye and no specialized astronomical instruments are required. The only thing you need to take into account to watch the beautiful astronomical phenomenon is the correct time and to test your skills to distinguish between the planets and the constellations of stars.
During the nights of late June and early July, you will have several opportunities to direct your gaze to the celestial vault just before sunrise and see the five planets aligned. Preferably you should prepare for observation approximately 45 minutes before sunrise.
Direct your gaze to the southeast and there they will be, five blazing points lined up in a straight line. If you have trouble distinguishing between a star and a planet, just remember that the latter do not twinkle, unlike the stars that appear to be constantly twinkling.
Story originally published in Ecoosfera