Planetary parade: 5 planets align in their natural order for the first time in 18 years

June 24, 2022 - 5:36 PM
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Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter, accompanied by the Moon, are shown in this photo shared by Pagasa on their Facebook page.(Pagasa/Facebook)

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn dazzled the pre-dawn sky Friday, June 24, 2022, as they lined up in a rare planetary alignment.

This was the first time in eighteen years that planets have aligned in their natural order from the Sun.

The last time this astronomical event occurred was in December 2004 and it will only happen again in 2040, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

“The last such event took place in 2004, and if you miss this one, you will have to wait until August 2040 for another planetary parade to take place,” Pagasa wrote as they shared a photo capture of the planetary alignment on their official Facebook account.

As a bonus, the crescent-waning Moon also joined the lineup. Placed between Venus and Mars, it serves as a proxy for Earth.

According to Sky & Telescope’s observing editor Diana Hannikainen, while seeing two to three planets huddled together is a rather common occurrence, seeing five is somewhat rare.

Neptune and Uranus are actually included in the mix but it will be very difficult to spot them through the naked eye.

‘A perspective from Earth’

The planets may appear close together in one part of the sky, but in reality, these planets are still billions of kilometers far away from each other, Earth Shaker Meteorological and Astronomical Sciences Division (MASD) explained on their Twitter account.

“The planetary alignment or parade is just a perspective from Earth,” the youth-oriented science organization wrote.

Meanwhile, Filipinos on social media shared their own photographs of the spectacular alignment.

“In case you missed the rare astronomical event that occured a while ago at dawn, here’s the photo I captured for this year’s Planetary Alignment of Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter; including the Moon. Unfortunately, Saturn didn’t fit into the frame due to lack of focal length but it can still be seen with naked eye,” John Reco Estrera, a photographer from Daanbantayan, Cebu, shared on Facebook.

“The planetary parade of Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and the Waning Crescent Moon are visible in the east around 4:33 AM,” Julius Tone Fortunado wrote in another Facebook post accompanied by photos.

The stunning view will be visible every day before sunrise until June 28.