2022, June 17: Morning Planet Parade

June 17, 2022: Five bright planets are becoming visible before sunrise.  The planets are in order from the sun – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

2022, June 17: In the south, the gibbous moon nears the planet Saturn.
Chart Caption – 2022, June 17: In the south, the gibbous moon nears the planet Saturn.

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:15 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:28 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Morning Sky

SUMMARY OF PLANETS IN 2022 MORNING SKY

The planet parade of five bright planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn – is visible in the eastern sky before sunrise.  About an hour before daybreak, the moon is approaching Saturn.  The lunar orb is 88% illuminated and about 24° up in the south.

Look for Saturn 18.6° to the upper left of the gibbous moon.  It is  retrograding, moving westward compared to the starry background, in eastern Capricornus, near the star Deneb Algedi.

2022, June 17: Bright Jupiter and Mars are in the east-southeast before sunrise.
Chart Caption – 2022, June 17: Bright Jupiter and Mars are in the east-southeast before sunrise.

Farther eastward, Mars marches away from Jupiter toward the east along the plane of the solar system.  The Red Planet is 11.2° to the lower left of the bright Jovian Giant, the second brightest star in the sky this morning.

2022, June 17: Brilliant Venus is low in the east-northeast before sunrise.
Chart Caption – 2022, June 17: Brilliant Venus is low in the east-northeast before sunrise.

Farther eastward, brilliant Venus is about 8° up in the east-northeast.  The star Capella is in the north-northwest, slightly higher than Venus and over 37° to the left of the planet.

Use a binocular to initially locate the Pleiades star cluster, 9.1° to the left of the Morning Star.  Can you see the stellar bundle without the binocular?

2022, June 17: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Mercury appears to the lower left of Venus.
Chart Caption – 2022, June 17: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Mercury appears to the lower left of Venus.

Fifteen minutes later, Mercury appears above the east-northeast horizon, 10.0° to the lower left of Venus. The speedy planet rises 68 minutes before sunrise.  It’ll gain another six minutes during the next week.

Mercury is fairly bright, but use a binocular to initially find it.  While the planet reached its largest separation from the sun yesterday, it can climb a little higher in the sky during the next several days.  Can you find the five brightest planets?

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