STARGAZERS are treated to a rare celestial parade this holiday weekend as FIVE planets line up in the sky.
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be visible just before sunrise from Friday.
They appear in an arc across the eastern sky in order of their distance from the sun.
The planets — the only five you can see with the naked eye — haven’t lined up this way since 2004.
To see them you need an unobstructed view of the horizon to the east and southeast.
The best time to see them is on June 3rd and 4th, about half an hour before sunrise.
That means around 3:30am in the UK or around 4:40am in the eastern United States.
Venus will appear bright not far above the horizon. Following an arc to the southeast takes you to the Red Mar near Jupiter.
Saturn will be further south towards the end of the arc, while Mercury will appear faint against the rising Sun.
You may need binoculars to spot the farthest planet as it is close to the horizon and may be obscured by sunlight.
Planetary alignments don’t happen very often, especially when up to five are involved at once.
However, Friday’s meeting is just the foretaste of an even more spectacular alignment to take place later this month.
On June 24, all of the other planets in the solar system—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus—will converge in the sky.
You need a telescope or binoculars to see the most distant planets, Neptune and Uranus.
And the line stretches across the night sky, making it difficult to photograph.
Alignments of all planets (except Earth) are very rare. This is only the third time since 2005.
“We don’t always get this opportunity,” says astronomy educator Michelle Nichols of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago said LiveScience.
“Sometimes there are one or two in the sky; often there is none.”
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8890396/five-planets-line-up-night-sky-space-showcase/ Five planets will line up in the sky tomorrow in a rare space showcase – how to look at it