It’s worth getting up early for this sight.
During the month of June, five planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – were visible to the unaided eye just before sunrise. The rare sight is even more remarkable because the planets are all lined up in their natural order from the sun.
“The last time the five naked-eye planets were consecutively drawn across the horizon was in December 2004,” said Sky & Telescope.
However, Friday morning will see a very special treat in the morning sky as a waning crescent moon will stand between Venus and Mars. Also, Mercury, which has been getting brighter all month, will be easier than ever to see.
If seeing five planets in a row is rare, throwing in the moon takes things to the next level.
“The last time this happened was in the mid-1800s,” said Dr. Jackie Faherty of the American Museum of Natural History to CBS New York. “Getting the moon in that good alignment position that it’s in, that’s the part that makes this extra cherry-on-top special.”
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If you live in a big city, you should still be able to see the planets, experts say.
“Even in the city, these are bright enough – you should be able to see,” said Michelle Thaller, an astronomer at NASA The Washington Post. “Go on a friend’s balcony or on the roof. As long as you have a nice clear horizon and sky you can see it.”
As for timing, Mike Shanahan, planetarium director at Liberty Science Center, cautioned that you need to get up early.
Depending on the weather, Shanahan told CBS New York that the ideal time slot is generally between 4:40 a.m. and 4:50 a.m
Skygazers have a little more leeway on Friday as the “five planet parade” is said to be visible for about an hour until Mercury is washed out by the rising sun Sky & Telescope.
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If you miss Friday’s celestial show, don’t worry — all five planets will still be visible through July 4, according to CBS New York.
But after that you have to wait long Time to see five planets together as the rare conjunction won’t be seen again until 2040.
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Of course, enjoying the view is one thing – but capturing it on film is another.
Amateur astrophotographer Alexander Krivenyshev told CBS New York that it took almost 10 days to get the perfect shot.
“Mercury over a big city like New York City is a big challenge,” he explained. “You already have the glow from sunrise, and at the same time it’s pretty tiny over the horizon, maybe behind buildings.”