June has a few special celestial events to add to your summer sky-gazing bucket list, including a quintet of planets to enjoy.
During most of June, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn stretch across the sky like a string of pearls appearing in the pre-dawn hours.
Sky & Telescope Magazine is calling it a “Planet Parade” because the planets will also be in the correct order from the Sun.
Mercury will be the hardest to spot, appearing last in the lineup just before being swallowed up by sunlight. However, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn should be easy to see throughout the month.
As a quartet, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have appeared in conjunction over the past few months, but June is the last chance to see the group together before they begin to expand further in the night sky.
Before sunrise, look for the planets in the sky by looking to the southeast.
This celestial event requires no special equipment, but the view gets even better if you have access to a telescope or local observatory. Binoculars could also help improve your experience.
If you want to know which planet is which, you know that they are arranged in their natural order from the sun: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. A skygazing app like Stellarium can also help you identify all the planets.
In early June, Mercury and Saturn will be the smallest in the sky. As the month progresses, the planets will begin to appear farther apart in the sky.
Mercury will be more illuminated and higher on the horizon by mid-June, making it easier to spot.
Towards the end of the month, the Five Planet Alignment will add a sixth gem to the show. On June 24, Mercury will appear above the horizon about an hour before sunrise. As a bonus, the crescent moon appears between Venus and Mars.
According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Venus and Saturn will disappear as morning objects for most observers by September.
Bonus: Old Star Cluster on display
Another treat for the summer sky view takes place this month. NASA astronomers say June is also an excellent month to see the globular cluster known as Hercules Cluster M13. This globular cluster is believed to be nearly 12 billion years old.
Best viewed with a telescope, this cluster of stars appears high in the eastern sky during the first few hours of darkness throughout the month.
No telescope? No problem, find public observing events nearby via NASA’s Night Sky Network.
The full moon in June is known as the Strawberry Moon.
The full moon indication falls on June 14 when you want to enjoy some time outdoors or perhaps camp in the moonlight. A new moon on June 28 is the best time to head to a dark sky location, away from city lights, to look for your favorite constellations.
https://nypost.com/2022/06/08/stellar-alignment-5-planets-line-up-for-a-nightly-show-in-june/ Stellar Alignment! 5 planets lined up for a nightly show in June