24 June 2022

Five planets are aligning for the first time in 18 years, and it will be visible from London

The stunning planetary alignment will not happen again until 2040.

While the alignment already started this morning, the event will still be visible until Monday. The best time to view the spectacle will be just before sunrise.

If the sky is clear enough the naked eye alone will be enough to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn glowing before dawn. It’s a special opportunity to see Mercury, which is usually obscured from view by the Sun’s bright light.

According to the BBC, the northern hemisphere, including the UK, will get the best views between 45 and 90 minutes before sunrise. Look eastwards and very close to the horizon, ideally from a high spot like a hill. You’ll need to rise early, because as soon as the sun comes up it will wash out the sky, obscuring the planets.

The planets will appear “like a string of pearls spread out from close to the horizon”, said space scientist and chief stargazer at the Society for Popular Astronomy Prof Lucie Green. It is also a special event because the planets will appear in the order they are positioned from the sun.

The next alignment won’t be happening until 2040 so make sure you all set your alarms and drag yourself out of bed to watch this incredible show over the next few days.

  • Writer Chris Saunders

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