The five major planets in our solar system have lined up in a rare formation that sky watchers can see with their own eyes.
Astronomers say the formation is expected to remain in the sky until the end of June. The planets included are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. They are the brightest planets in the solar system.
Seeing two or three large planets close to each other can be a common sight. But the American Astronomical Society He said in a statement that it is rare to see all five together. The last time such a planet was formed was in December 2004.
Society says the best time to observe the five planets is just before sunrise. They will “stretch across the sky from low in the east to higher in the south,” the statement said.
Some astronomers call the event a “planetary parade.”
Map published by the Astronomical Society Sky and telescope the magazine shows the planets appearing from left to right in this order – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Mercury will appear at the lowest point on horizon.
People in the northern hemisphere should face the east-southeast horizon, while those in the southern hemisphere should face the east-northeast horizon.
The planets should be visible without special equipment such as a telescope. But binoculars will be helpful. Cloudy weather will also affect visibility, so astronomers suggest planning for the best experience.
“If it’s cloudy on the recording dates, you still have all the mornings in between so you can enjoy the view at five naked–eye planets ornamentation the southeastern horizon, ”the company said. “Just make sure you set the alarm and wake up on time.”
Mercury is the hardest to see because it is closer shine from the sun. But the other planets should be easily visible, even without the use of binoculars, for a few more days.
June 19 US space agency NASA tweeted about the beginning of the unusual composition of the planets. “Starting tonight, look at Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn spreading out and looking like they line up in the sky.” NASA noted that on June 23, sky watchers received a special treat, when the set was joined by a “crescent”.
“Crescent” describes the shape of the moon as it appears early in its first quarter or late in the last quarter. During this period, only a small edge of the moon is visible, which is illuminated by the sun.
As June is over, the planet parade will come to an end. Astronomers predict that the next opportunity to see a formation of five planets will be March 2041.
OUR he says June is also a good time for more serious sky watchers to observe one of the most famous “globular star clusters”. These “clusters” or groups are spherical collections of stars narrowly gathered in their centers. They can include tens of thousands to millions of stars. They revolve around the center of many galaxies.
Currently the most notable is called M13, also known as the Cluster of Hercules. But the space agency notes that it will require binoculars or a telescope. “Find M13 in the constellation Hercules, which is high in the east in the first few hours after dark in June,” NASA advises.
A constellation is a group of stars that forms a shape in the sky and which has been given a name and has a story behind it.
The stars in M13 are thought to be about 12 billion years old. It’s almost as old as the universe itself, NASA notes.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on a report by the American Astronomical Society,, Sky and telescope and NASA.
We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments and section visit our Facebook page.
The words in this story
horizon – n. where the sky seems to touch the land or the sea
visible – adj. can be seen
binoculars – n. a pair of tubes with glass lenses at the ends through which you look to see things far away
naked eye – n. if something can be seen with the naked eye, it can also be seen without the help of special equipment
adorn – v. add something decorative to a person or thing
shine – v. produce continuous light and sometimes heat
spherical – adj. something round in shape, like a ball
galaxy – n. one of the independent groups of stars in the universe
#planets #aligned #sky #sparse #formation