planets

Rare Five-Planet Alignment to Dazzle in the Sky. When to Watch in SoCal

Pull out your telescopes because a rare five-planet alignment is set to dazzle the sky on June 23

Griffith Observatory at night.
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Start your morning off early Friday with some sky-gazing as five planets align in a rare celestial show.

Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Saturn are expected to be in perfect alignment starting the morning of June 23 to June 24.

The last time the planets were aligned this way was in 2004. They will not align again like this until 2040, so it might be worth catching a glimpse of the rare event.

The alignment started at the beginning of the month but will be at its most compelling on June 23 because the crescent moon will join the lineup.

While it is not uncommon for alignments to happen, this kind of alignment is rare because these planets will also be in their natural order from the sun.

Here is the order that the planets will appear:

  • Saturn will be the first to rise above the horizon before midnight.
  • Jupiter will follow, arriving around 1:30 a.m.
  • Next is Mars which will rise before 2:00 a.m.
  • Venus will make its appearance near 3:30 a.m.
  • Mercury will be the last planet to join at about 30-40 minutes before sunrise.

The planets will be visible with the naked eye -- if the clouds cooperate. In SoCal, skies are expected to be clear Thursday going into Friday morning.

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The best time to see the full alignment for those in the Northern Hemisphere will be between 3:39 a.m. and sunrise at 4:43 a.m. Go outside roughly 30 minutes before sunrise and find a spot with unobstructed views of the eastern and southeastern horizons.

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