Attention New Yorkers! Rare Five-Planet Alignment to Be Visible Friday Morning – NBC New York (47)

A rare alignment of five planets will be in store for sky watchers before dawn on Friday.

While the celestial event has been going on all week (and all month in some form), experts say the best time to see it will be Friday morning.

The lineup will still be visible for several more days, but Friday will be the best viewing in North America.

Mercury will appear lower on the horizon, while Saturn will appear higher in the night sky.

On June 22, a waning crescent moon appeared to the right of Mars. This week and next the Moon will move close to each of the planets.

KEY DATES

June 26th: A very thin waning crescent moon appears to the left of Venus.

June 27th: An even thinner crescent appears to Mercury’s left.

To catch the rare phenomenon, it is recommended that sky watchers in the Northern Hemisphere go outdoors approximately 30 to 45 minutes before sunrise and choose a location with clear views of the eastern and southeastern horizons.

If conditions are clear, the planets should be bright enough to see with the naked eye, although Mercury, being closer to the horizon, will appear fainter in the sky earlier in the month. That could make it harder to spot without binoculars. However, as the month progresses, it will be easier to spot, according to Sky & Telescope.

The best chance to see the show will be on June 24, as Mercury should be about an hour before the sun and a crescent moon will also be seen between Venus and Mars, acting as a “proxy Earth”.

WHAT MAKES PLANET ALIGNMENT RARE?

While it is common to see two planets appear together in the night sky, the celestial phenomenon, known as a conjunction, is much rarer when more planets are involved. After June, the planets will begin to disperse in the predawn sky, “so much so that Venus and Saturn will rise as morning objects for most observers in September,” according to NASA.

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