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2022, June 24:  Moon Approaches Venus, Rare Morning Planet Parade

Jupiter and Saturn, December 3, 2020. Great Conjunction occurs December 21, 2020. Close planet alignment.

2020, December 3: In the southwest, dimmer Saturn is 1.9° to the upper left of the Jupiter.

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June 24, 2022: The crescent moon approaches Venus in the eastern sky before sunrise.  The five bright planets are aligned in order from the sun in a rare planet parade.

Photo Caption – 2022, June 24: Five planets and crescent moon.
Photo Caption: 2022, June 24: Venus, Mercury and the crescent moon,

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:16 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:30 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

Morning Sky

SUMMARY OF PLANETS IN 2022 MORNING SKY

The rare morning planet parade peaks with the crescent moon approaching Venus this morning.  Begin looking about an hour before sunrise for the string of five bright planets along an arc extending from the east-northeast to the south.

This morning the moon is between brilliant Morning Star Venus and bright Jupiter.  The morning’s brightest planet is over 8° above the east-northeast horizon.  Mercury is too its lower left, but not high enough to be seen at this hour.

Venus has been shining in the morning sky since January, passing Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter during the morning hours.

Chart Caption – 2022, June 24: Through a binocular, Venus is 5.8° to the lower right of the Pleiades star cluster.

At this level of twilight, the Pleiades star cluster might be visible to the unaided eye.  The stellar bundle is 5.8° to the upper left of Venus.  Both easily fit into a binocular’s field of view.  Take a look.

Photo Caption – 2022, June 24: The waning crescent moon.

The crescent moon, 19% illuminated, is 20° to the upper right of Venus.  Use the binocular to easily see that the lunar night is gently illuminated.  This effect is known as earthshine, reflected sunlight from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and land lights the lunarscape.

Chart Caption – 2022, June 24: Through a binocular, the crescent moon and Uranus appear together.

The planet Uranus is in the same binocular field as the lunar crescent this morning.  The dim aquamarine star is 6.2° to the lower left of the moon.  This is a challenging observation because of the level of twilight that tends to wash out the dimmer stars and planets

Neptune and Pluto are in the sky this morning.  This article and podcast describe how to find them.  The classic nine planets from Mercury to Pluto are strung across the morning sky.

Photo Caption – 2022, June 24: Four morning planets and the crescent moon.

Stepping westward from the moon, the next bright star is Jupiter, over 30° to the upper right of the lunar crescent and over 30° up in the southeast.  Dimmer Mars is nearly midway from the crescent to Jupiter.

Chart Caption – 2022, June 24: Saturn is in the south before sunrise.

The final bright planet is Saturn.  It is about one-third of the way up in the sky in the south.

Fifteen minutes later, the five bright planets are strung along an arc 125° long.  Mercury is low in the sky, 10° to the lower left of Venus. The speedy planet is quickly retreating into bright twilight, breaking away from the five-planet parade.

2020, November 11: Jupiter is over 23° up in the south-southwest. Saturn is 4.1° to Jupiter’s upper left. The giant planet pair is near 56 Sgr. Jupiter is 3.1° to the lower right of the star, while Saturn is 2.4° to the star’s lower left. Jupiter is 2.5° to the upper left of 50 Sgr.

A parade of five bright planets in any order occurs about every two to three years, during the times that Jupiter and Saturn are close together, followed by spells when there are no simultaneous sightings of the five bright planets.  The next bunching of five planets in any order occurs during mid-April 2036.  The five bright planets appear in order from the sun again during the spring of 2100.

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