Sunday, July 3

Astronomy: how to observe the great planetary alignment on June 24 and 25?

The event is rare and for good reason, it will not happen again for decades. A large planetary alignment, bringing together six planets plus the Moon in the sky, will be visible in France very early at dawn between June 22 and 26, with a high point on June 24.

It’s such a rare sighting that it’s pretty much only seen once in a lifetime. A large planetary alignment can be admired with the naked eye from France from June 22 to 26. Six planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus) will come into alignment and can almost draw a straight line around 5 am, Friday June 24 and Saturday June 25, with our natural satellite the Moon as a special guest. The lucky ones with a telescope can even look up at Neptune and Pluto, the dwarf planet.

Called by astronomers and astrophysicists the “great planetary parade”, the event last happened with so many planets in 1984, and you will have to wait until 2040 to see an approaching spectacle, and even the year 2124 to appreciate the same parade as the spectacle which will be observed at dawn.

a great planetary parade with the naked eye

It will therefore be necessary to get up early to observe this historic alignment. The good news is that if the weather is nice between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. around your place, you can watch this parade with the naked eye. “You will have to face east in front of an open space. Wait for your eyes to adjust to the dark for about 20 minutes [et ne regardez pas l’écran de votre mobile pour patienter]. You will then distinguish the planets, which do not twinkle, unlike the stars. You will spot Mercury which will then be very low on the eastern horizon, then Venus to the right, will come the Moon, our satellite, Mars, Jupiter, further away Saturn…”, explains for CNEWS the astrophysicist Nicolas Laporte, professor at Cambridge University.

A piece of advice if you have the possibility of borrowing binoculars, the spectacle will be all the more grandiose to admire this planetary alignment more closely. You may even see Uranus, which will fit between Venus and the Moon. While the owners of a telescope can go so far as to observe Neptune and even the dwarf Pluto.

The next rendezvous with the stars will take place at the beginning of August and more specifically on the night of August 10 to 11 with the traditional “showers of shooting stars”, the perseids, which will make it possible to observe up to 100 small asteroids burning per hour approaching our land.

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