Stargazers urged to head high and look east to catch a glimpse of astral phenomenon

Monday 20th June 2022 2:43 pm
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Night sky
Five planets will align before dawn to the east this week (Cambrian Mountains Initiative )

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STARGAZERS are being urged to get up high and look to the east if they want to see an astral spectacle that hasn’t occurred in almost 20 years.

Five planets will align and be visible in the early morning sky in late June with this week being the best time to view them.

You will have to get up early however, as the best time to spot the planets is between 4am and 5am as June has the earliest sunrises of the year.

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have lined up in the early morning sky, a planetary procession that can be seen above the eastern horizon every morning through the end of June.

The parade of planets will be best seen about 45-60 minutes before sunrise on cloud-free mornings.

Mercury is the most elusive of the planets that can be seen with the naked eye due to its close proximity to the sun.

The tiny planet will remain very low on the horizon, so seeing it requires an unimpeded view of the eastern horizon as trees, buildings and mountains all could potentially get in the way.

Venus will be a guide to spotting Mercury, glowing brighter and appearing just above and to the right of the closest planet to the sun. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be much easier to find as they will be higher in the sky.

This rare planetary parade has not been seen since 2004 and won’t happen again until 2040

A telescope is not required to see this month’s unique grouping of planets, but it could still be difficult to spot all five, even if the weather is perfect.

Dafydd Wyn Morgan, Projects Manager of the Cambrian Mountains Initiative, who promote the dark skies of mid Wales, said: “The best tip I would give anyone hoping to see the planetary alignment is to get up early, head up as high as possible and look to the east.

“It may be difficult to spot the planets this time of year due to it not being completely dark.”

The weather forecast for mid Wales this week is largely clear, with rain due on Friday.

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