The solar system gets its ducks in a row – Sky & Telescope
Like a peacock spreading its feathers, the five brightest planets in the solar system will unfurl in a magnificent spectacle at dawn until early July. Even more amazing they will be the right order Exit from the sun beginning with Mercury at the eastern horizon followed by Venus, Mars, Jupiter and ending at Saturn. Standing under the spread, you will look like you are looking out the spaceship earth window at our place in the cosmic order.
This rare event occurred for the last time in the morning sky in December 2004. With regard to the evening sky, we saw similar planetary lines in October 1997 and September 1995, but the extension of mercury to these times was no more than 10°, limiting sight to clear vision. attentive observers in tropical latitudes. For American skywatchers, the last major similar broadcast was in July 1957. Ouch, I was barely four years old!
I encourage you to get up early at least one morning for a look. Invite friends. Bring children. There will be multiple viewing options, but both better opportunities June 24 (described above) and June 26, when Venus and the thin-filament Moon meet in conjunction. While not a once-in-a-lifetime event, the next opportunity won’t be until March 2041. Call me impatient, but I’m not making any assumptions about the future.
Alignment is essentially a naked eye event – the only requirements are clear to partly cloudy skies and a clear east-northeast horizon. That said, I strongly recommend that you bring a pair of binoculars to help you unearthed Mercury, which will hover in the solar glow a few degrees above the horizon for observers of Latitudes Mi-Nord and Mid-Sud . Assuming a clear view and an air without mist, I think you will see Mercury without optical help. But a rescue window will guarantee that you will not be short-circuited on a planet. The other four will be much easier to spot.
You’ll want to be out a bit early to orient yourself and find a comfortable place to set up for a view. An hour and 15 minutes before local sunrise is perfect. A lake, farmer’s field, or high vantage point with an unobstructed eastern horizon makes an ideal location. Venus will be brilliant and low, with Mercury about to go up at that time. The five planets will be best visible, depending on your latitude, from about 1 hour to 40 minutes before sunrise. Since this weather is critical to planning, use this sunrise calculator to find out when the sun rises for your location.
Since many of us will want to shoot the duration, you may want to do some reconnaissance beforehand to include suitable foreground scenery. On June 20, the pack extends over about 102 ° from sky, increasing at 116 ° at the end of the month. For a full-frame DSLR, you’ll need at least a 12-14mm lens – with horizontal fields of view of 104° and 112°, respectively – to squeeze them all in. Crushed sensor cameras require an even shorter focal length. Since these objectives are not cheap, a better alternative would be to take several photos of the scene with a standard objective and to combine them in a single image using an imagery program like Paint (supplied with Windows 10/11), Mac OS Photos, or Photoshop. Check YouTube for videos showing how it’s done.
Your creative hand will also be necessary during post-processing due to the great difference in lighting between the darker southern sky, where Mars, Jupiter and Saturn resident, and the luminous belly of the eastern horizon, where the inner planets.
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Don’t forget to include Earth in the alignment! You can do this by using the waning moon as a proxy. Or just look around and take in the scenery. If you’re a completist, you’ll also want to research Uranus and Neptune. They’re up there too, even if they screw up the order. Both are visible in binoculars or a small telescope. And while we are there, include 4 Vesta, a representative of the main asteroid belt. The cards below provide the positions of these three additional objects.
Comme ces cinq minuscules lumières démontrent magnifiquement la planéité essentielle du système solaire. Looking up, you can practically see the ecliptic etched into the sky. When pointed out, even a neophyte will quickly grasp the “shape” of our neighborhood and the place of the Earth within it. And while flat earthlings will argue with you to the death about our planet’s sphericity or lack thereof, at least we can all agree this month that the solar system is as flat as a thin-crust pizza.