5 planets aligned in the sky in a rare formation

The five major planets in our solar system are lined up in a rare formation that skywatchers can see with their own eyes.

Astronomers say the formation is expected to remain in the sky for the rest of June. The planets in question are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. They are the brightest planets in the solar system.

It is a common sight to see two or three large planets close together. But the American Astronomical Society He said In a statement, it is rare to see the five together. The last time such planets occurred was in December 2004.

The association said the best time to view the five planets is shortly before sunrise. It will “extend across the sky from low in the east to higher in the south,” the statement said.

Some astronomers call the event a “planet parade.”

Map published by the Astronomical Society Sky and telescope The magazine lists the planets in this order from left to right: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Mercury will appear at the lowest point on horizon

This graphic shows the positions of the five major planets in our solar system. The planets are lined up in a rare formation that is expected to be visible in the sky for the rest of June. Credit: Stellarium, with graphic additions by Bob King

People in the Northern Hemisphere should face the east-southeast horizon, while those in the southern hemisphere should face the east-northeast horizon.

Planets should be Visible Without special equipment such as a telescope. But binoculars It will be useful. Cloudy weather also affects visibility, so astronomers suggest some planning for the best experience.

“If it’s cloudy on the observation dates, you still have all morning to see the five sights nakedeye planets adorn Southeastern horizon,” the association said. “Just make sure you set the alarm and get up on time.”

Mercury is the hardest to see because it is closer radiates of the sun. But the other planets should still be visible for a few days, even without binoculars.

On June 19, the American space agency NASA twitter About the beginning of the unusual planet arrangement. “Look for the beginning of the night to have Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn spread out and appear in a row in the sky.” NASA noted that on June 23, skywatchers were given special treatment, when a “crescent moon” joined the lineup.

The “crescent moon” describes the shape of the moon as it appears early in the first quarter or late in the last quarter. During this period, only a small rim of the moon can be seen and illuminated by the sun.

At the end of June, the planet’s parade comes to an end. Astronomers expect the next opportunity to see the composition of the five planets will be in March 2041.

NASA Say June is also a good time for more serious sky watchers to observe one of the most famous ‘globe clusters’. These “groups”, or groups, are spherical Clusters of stars are clustered close together at their centers. It can contain tens of thousands to millions of stars. They revolve around the centers of many galaxies

The most commonly sighted species currently seen is the M13, also known as the Hercules Cluster. But the space agency notes that binoculars or telescopes will be needed to see it. NASA advises “look for M13 in the constellation Hercules, high in the east in the first two hours after dark in June.”

This image, taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, shows M13, or the constellation Hercules, 25,000 light-years from Earth. Image credits: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team)

A constellation is a group of stars that form a shape in the sky with a name and a story behind it.

The age of the stars in M13 is estimated to be about 12 billion years. NASA notes that this is about as old as the universe itself.

I’m Brian Lynn.

Brian Lane wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the American Astronomical SocietyAnd the Sky & Telescope and NASA.

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The words in this story

horizonn. Where the sky seems to touch the land or the sea

Visible characteristic observable

binoculars – n. A few tubes with glass lenses on the ends that you can see through to see things further away

With the naked eye n. If something can be seen with the naked eye, it can also be seen without the help of special equipment

adorn Fifth. To add something decorative to someone or something

radiates Fifth. To produce continuous light and sometimes heat

spherical characteristic Something with a round shape, like a ball

universe n. One of the independent groups of stars in the universe

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