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02nd Jun 2024

Parade of planets to appear in the night sky and here’s how you could see it

Ryan Price

This sounds like quite the spectacle.

A rare ‘parade of planets’ could be visible in the night sky across the UK tonight and we’ve got a guide on how you can witness it.

Last month, the country was treated to a glimpse of the Northern Lights for the first time in over twenty years, and another starry spectacle could be on our way tonight according to ITV‘s meteorologist and weather presenter Chris Page.

Tonight has the makings of another astronomical delight, as six planets are set to parade across the night sky at the same time – an event known as a planetary alignment.

Page describes planetary alignment as “where you are able to see at least three or more planets across the night sky when viewed from Earth.”

According to the expert, during the early hours of Monday morning, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune will all appear to line up in the sky.

Out of the six you should be able to at least see four of these with the naked eye: Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

However, a telescope or high-powered binoculars will be necessary to view Uranus and Neptune, mainly because they’re so far away.

Ahead of the rare event, Page outlined a list of ‘top tips’ to help make sure you don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Find a clear view: Choose a location with a clear, unobstructed view of the horizon. Elevated areas away from city lights, such as hills or open fields, are ideal.

Look to the eastern horizon: All planets should be visible around dawn before sunrise. They will arc across the sky from east to west.

Grab some binoculars or, even better, a telescope: While most planets will be visible to the naked eye, a telescope or high-powered binoculars will help you see Uranus and Neptune more clearly.

Plan for clear skies: Monitor the weather forecast and choose a night with the clearest skies for your area and the best visibility. Cloudy or overcast conditions can obstruct the view. It may be possible to see it a few nights before and after too.

Bring necessary gear: In addition to a telescope or binoculars, download an astronomy app to help identify the planets. A torch with a red light will prevent you from ruining your night vision.

Be patient: Arrive early to give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness. Be patient and take your time to locate each planet.

Capture the moment: If you have a camera with a good zoom lens, consider taking photos of the alignment. Use a tripod for stability and take long exposure shots for better results to let more light into your camera lens.

According to Page, if you follow the above you’ll likely see one of the most impressive sight’s that the universe can produce from the comfort of your back garden.

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