NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn have been aligning in order this month for the first time in 18 years. This week will offer the peak viewing time to see the planet parade.
You won’t need a telescope to see the rare grouping of planets, as they will all be visible to the naked eye. It might still be difficult to see Mercury, however, because of how dim it appears.
As we get closer to the end of June, Mercury will become brighter as it gradually climbs higher above the horizon each night, according to Sky and Telescope.
The best day for viewing will be on Friday, June 24, when the waning crescent moon joins the lineup of planets. Looking toward the southeast, the moon will appear positioned between Venus and Mars.
The best time to look to the sky will be about 45 minutes to about 1 hour before sunrise through the end of June. Keep in mind that June has some of the earliest sunrises of the year, so this means the ideal viewing time is just before 5 am
This “parade of planets” hasn’t been seen from Earth since 2004, and it won’t happen again until 2040, experts say.
Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will still be visible for most mornings in July, but the group of planets will spread out farther and farther as the month goes on.