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- By Saidata Sesay
- BBC World Service
The month of June offers star gazers a rare opportunity to observe a heavenly gift: five planets and the Moon align.
From the northern hemisphere, Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be visible in a pre-dawn parade, forming a curved line.
The most perfect formation will take place from June 23 to 24.
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This alignment is called a celestial conjunction and can be seen with the naked eye. The last time the phenomenon occurred was in 2004.
From the southern hemisphere, Mercury and Venus are visible in the morning, with the star of Adebaran between them.
Aldebaran, which means “the follower” in Arabic, is one of the 15 brightest stars that we can see from our planet. It has a diameter 44 times greater than that of the Sun and casts a reddish hue.
If you stay up all night looking at the stars, you will see Saturn first. She will appear in the middle of the night.
For a few hours before sunrise, Jupiter and then Mars will be visible. At sunrise, Venus will make an appearance, followed by Mercury at sunrise.
Here we explain how to recognize each planet you will see.
Astrologers believe that this alignment is significant.
Some believe that planetary conjunctions are linked to a great energy shift, moving humanity from a place of war to a calmer point of peace and harmony.
It would mean that the ills that plague the human race could finally be replaced by love, acceptance, and cooperation.
What can you see?
This year, Saturn will be particularly visible on fall evenings.
But right now he gets up before midnight local time.
To the naked eye, Saturn looks like a bright, yellowish-white star.
But using a small telescope, you will be able to see the planet’s famous rings, which now appear to be shrinking. They extend to the north and south of the planet.
At sunrise, Saturn is easily visible in the sky from southeast or south to southeast.
Mars is a morning planet, and it becomes easier to see in June.
It rises in the eastern and southeastern sky shortly before 2 am local time and shines with a brightness similar to that of Achernar, the ninth brightest star visible from Earth.
You will see the yellow-orange hue of Mars.
Our crescent moon will pass by Mars on June 22 and 23, completing the alignment of the 6 celestial bodies.
Many of us already recognize Jupiter in the morning sky. It shines more than twice as bright as Sirius, the brightest star we can see from Earth.
Using a telescope or binoculars, the planet’s western side appears slightly darker than its eastern side in June.
Starting June 22, it will be even easier to see and will enter the constellation of Cetus (“the whale”) on June 25.
Venus rises at sunrise and is brighter than Jupiter. It will be easiest to see it 30 minutes before sunrise on June 30.
Binoculars or a telescope will allow you to see the Pleiades star cluster 9 degrees to the left of Venus before the morning twilight gets too bright.
Mercury is also easiest to see 30 minutes before sunrise on June 30 and will be the lowest planet on the horizon.
In early June, it was too far away and faint to be seen in the dawn sky.
Since June 16 it is faintly visible to the unaided eye very low in the east or northeast, about 30 minutes before sunrise.
You can see it at the bottom left of Venus.
On June 27, Mercury rises above the northeastern horizon just over an hour before the Sun.