2022, June 25: Venus, Moon, Pleiades Group, Rare Morning Planet Parade

June 25, 2022: Venus, the crescent moon, and the Pleiades make a pretty grouping in the east-northeastern sky before daybreak.  The appearance of the five bright planets simultaneously is peaking during the next few mornings.

2022, June 25: Morning Star Venus, the crescent moon and the Pleiades star cluster appear in the eastern sky about an hour before sunrise.
Chart Caption – 2022, June 25: Morning Star Venus, the crescent moon and the Pleiades star cluster appear in the eastern sky about an hour before sunrise.
2022, June 24: Five planets and crescent moon.
Photo Caption – 2022, June 24: Five planets and crescent moon.

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:17 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

Not until 2100 are the five bright planets visible in order from the sun – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn – simultaneously.  During mid-April 2036, the five planets are visible in a mixed order, simultaneously.

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

These planet parades can be visible during about a decade, centered on the Jupiter – Saturn conjunctions.  The last conjunction occurred in December 2020 – a Great Conjunction.  The current parade of the five bright planets simultaneously until 2036.  Be sure to see it before Mercury leaves the scene during the next week.

This morning’s planet parade is in full review, with the five bright planets visible simultaneously.

Start with the crescent moon, 12% illuminated, Morning Star Venus, and the Pleiades star cluster. They make a nicely spaced triangle in the east-northeast before sunrise.

An hour before sunrise or earlier, find a clear horizon toward the east-northeast.  A hilltop or elevated structure may provide clear views over trees and other nearby obstacles.

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

The crescent moon is about 15° up in the east.  The moon’s night portion is showing earthshine – reflected sunlight from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and continents.  Earthshine’s impression can be seen wit the unaided eye or amplified through a binocular.

Crescent moon, December 11, 2020
Photo Caption – 2020, December 11: About an hour before sunrise, the crescent moon that is 14% illuminated is in the southeastern sky.

Capture earthshine with a tripod-mounted camera and exposures up to a few seconds.  Bracket the exposures – take several at different shutter speeds – to capture the best view.

Morning Star Venus is 9.3° to the lower left of this morning’s lunar crescent.

2022, June 25: Venus and the Pleiades star cluster appear in the same binocular’s field of view.
Chart Caption – 2022, June 25: Venus and the Pleiades star cluster appear in the same binocular’s field of view.

If the sky is dark enough, the Pleiades star cluster is visible, 6.1° to the upper left of the Morning Star.  Venus and the star cluster fit nicely into the binocular’s field.  The moon is too far away from this pair to appear in the same field.

Tomorrow morning, the triplet fits tightly into the same binocular field.  That grouping is the last time they fit into the same binocular field until 2042.  Most groupings in the immediate future are like this morning’s celestial bundle.  Two of them may fit into a binocular field, but not all three until April 21, 2042!

2022, June 25: Bright Jupiter and Mars are in the southeastern sky before sunrise.
Chart Caption – 2022, June 25: Bright Jupiter and Mars are in the southeastern sky before sunrise.

Looking to the upper right of Venus and the moon, find bright Jupiter and Mars to its lower left.  Saturn is farther southward.  As the sky brightens, find them every few minutes, so that you can add Mercury to the view when it becomes visible to the lower left of Venus.

One way to track the dimmer planets, Mars and Saturn, is to move to a place where they are immediately viewed above a roof top or tree branch. As the sky brightens

2022, June 25: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Mercury is to the lower left of Venus.
Chart Caption – 2022, June 25: Forty-five minutes before sunrise, Mercury is to the lower left of Venus.

By 45 minutes, Mercury is about 4° above the east-northeast horizon, 10.2° to the lower left of Venus.

Bright Jupiter is nearly 40° up in the southeast.  Dimmer Mars is about one-third of the way from Jupiter to the lunar crescent, 16.1° to the lower left of the Jovian Giant.

2022, June 25: Saturn is in the south before sunrise.
Chart Caption – 2022, June 25: Saturn is in the south before sunrise.

Dim Saturn is seemingly by itself, about 30° up in the south.

Mercury and Moon, July 19, 2020
Photo Caption – 2020, July 19: Mercury appears 5.0° to the right of the crescent moon.

This five-member planet parade is breaking up. After June 27, Mercury begins rising later, appearing in brighter twilight each morning.  On that morning the moon is near Mercury, indicating the speedy planet’s location.

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