The rare sight of five bright planets lining up with the moon wowed skywatchers around the world Friday, with some gearing up for more this weekend to see a planetary sight that won't happen again until 2040.
Throughout June, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have lined up from left to right, in their orbital order from the sun, before dawn in the southeastern sky. Early Friday (June 24), the moon joined the planet parade in an awesome sight captured by astrophotographer Wright Dobbs, a meteorologist for the U.S. National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Florida.
"Seeing the night sky is amazing and, knowing the rarity of these alignments, you have to take every opportunity to view and capture it," Dobbs told Space.com in an email after sharing an image of the fivesome from St. Cloud, Florida on Friday. Dobbs is a veteran night sky photographer and you can see more photos on their Facebook page, as well as on Twitter and Instagram as @wrightdobbs.
The image was shot with a Sony a7ii, and was composed of a three-image panorama with a Sigma 14mm f/1.8 lens. Each image was exposed at ISO 1600, f/6.3, 15 seconds.
"It's certainly not the darkest place I've shot astrophotography from, but I love what the twilight glow added to the display of the planets in the morning sky," Dobbs said.
Other stunning views flowed in from social media.
LOOK UP: A bit hard to see here but if you look closely from left to right you’ll see Venus, the Moon, Mars and Jupiter! That’s just three of the five planets in alignment right now. Neat stuff 🪐 #planetaryalignment #planetparade @GoodDayAtlanta pic.twitter.com/KeHn2WnJ4oJune 24, 2022
Five-planetary alignment seen in Daanbantayan’ ✨LOOK: In case you missed the five-planetary alignment earlier today, here's a glimpse of the rare phenomenon in this photo captured by photographer John Reco Estrera. 📸: John Reco Estrera via Micah Sophia Marcellones pic.twitter.com/eiNqFoQ2LsJune 24, 2022
If you take a photograph of the five-world fiesta, let us know! You can send images and comments in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the show did hit its peak today (June 24), there's still ample time available to see the planets in alignment, along with the moon.
The moon moved through a planetary "meet and greet" in the predawn sky, passing Saturn on June 18, Jupiter on June 21 and Mars on June 22. The moon will continue its tour with a pass-by of Venus on June 26, and then end its tour with Mercury on June 27.
If you're looking for a telescope or binoculars to see alignments like this event, our guides for the best binoculars deals and the best telescope deals now can help. Our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography to prepare to capture the next stargazing sight in a photo.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace