The event began in early June and grew brighter and more visible as the month progressed, according to Diana Hannikainen, observational editor of Sky & Telescope.
A waning crescent will join the party between Venus and Mars on Friday, adding another celestial object to the lineup. The moon will represent the relative position of the earth in the alignment, meaning our planet will appear there in the planetary order.
Stargazers must have a clear view of the eastern horizon to spot the incredible phenomenon, Hannikainen said. People can see the planetary show with the naked eye, but binoculars are recommended for the best viewing experience, she added.
Some stargazers are particularly looking forward to the celestial event, including Hannikainen. She flew from her home west of Boston to a coastal city on the Atlantic Ocean to ensure the best view of the alignment.
“I’ll be out there with my binoculars, looking east and southeast, and crossing all my fingers and toes that it’ll be clear,” Hannikainen said.
You don’t have to travel to catch a glimpse of the action as it will be visible to people all over the world.
Stargazers in the northern hemisphere can see the planets from the east to southeast horizon, while those in the southern hemisphere should look along the east to northeast horizon. The only requirement is a clear sky in the alignment direction.
By the next day, the moon will have resumed its orbit around Earth, throwing it out of alignment with the planets, she said.
If you miss the five-planet alignment in sequential order, the next one will happen in 2040, according to Sky & Telescope.
- June 14: Strawberry Moon
- July 13: Buck moon
- August 11: Sturgeon Moon
- September 10: Harvest Moon
- October 9: Hunter’s Moon
- November 8: Beaver Moon
- December 7: Cold moon
lunar and solar eclipses
Partial eclipses occur when the moon passes in front of the sun but blocks only part of its light. Be sure to wear proper eclipse glasses to see solar eclipses safely, as the sunlight can damage the eye.
A partial solar eclipse on October 25 will be visible to people in Greenland, Iceland, Europe, Northeast Africa, the Middle East, western Asia, India, and western China. None of the partial eclipses will be visible from North America.
A total lunar eclipse will also be visible to those in Asia, Australia, the Pacific, South America and North America on November 8 between 3:01am ET and 8:58am ET – but the moon will set for those in it eastern regions of North America.
- Southern Delta Aquariids: July 29-30
- Alpha Capricornids: July 30-31
- Perseids: August 11-12
- Orionids: October 20-21
- Southern Taurids: November 4-5
- Northern Taurids: November 11-12
- Leonids: November 17-18
- Gemini: December 13-14
- Ursids: December 21-22
If you live in an urban area, you might want to drive somewhere that isn’t cluttered with city lights for the best view.
Find an open area with a wide view of the sky. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so you can look straight up. And give your eyes about 20 to 30 minutes — without looking at your phone or other electronics — to adjust to the darkness so the meteors are easier to spot.