Planetary lineup: See all 5 bright planets on June 2022 mornings

Watch for the planetary lineup beginning around June 10

Get ready. Beginning around June 10, you can see all five bright planets – the same five planets viewed by the earliest humans, millions of years ago – together in the morning sky. In their order outward from the sun, they are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. And, fascinatingly and coincidentally, that’s their order in our June 2022 morning sky as well, beginning with Mercury low in the sunrise direction shortly before the sun comes up. The planets all orbit the sun more or less in a single plane. So you’ll find them along a graceful line in our sky (the ecliptic).

The line of planets stretches up from the sunrise … toward the south as seen from the Northern Hemisphere … toward the north as seen from the Southern Hemisphere. So Mercury is nearest the sunrise. Venus is brightest. Mars is reddish. Jupiter is also bright. Saturn is probably the toughest to spot, but an imaginary line drawn between the other planets points to it.

And if you have patience and binoculars, you might also hunt down the two challenging planets – Uranus and Neptune – hiding among the classical planets. Read more about Uranus and Neptune here.

Mercury isn’t in view in early June. It comes into view above the sunrise point around June 10. Afterwards, the innermost planet swiftly separates itself from the sun in our sky, ascending toward its greatest western elongation – when it’s farthest from the sun in the morning sky – on June 16.

Want some help spotting the planets? Or looking for a good time to try photographing them? The moon can be your tour guide. Follow the waning gibbous and crescent moon around mid to late June as it passes Saturn on the 18th, Jupiter on the 21st, Mars on the 22nd, Venus on the 26th and Mercury on the 27th. Notice also how the phase of the moon changes, narrowing as it moves toward new moon.

Notice how the planets shift from June 10, when Mercury first appears, to the end of the month. While they stay in order, the space between them on our sky’s dome appears to expand. Mars and Jupiter were particularly close, coming off a conjunction at the end of May. They’ll continue to separate throughout June as Jupiter moves swiftly toward its September 26 opposition.

At the beginning of the June 2022 planetary lineup, the five planets stretch across 92 degrees of sky. In other words, the line of planets takes up about half the sky. By June 30, the distance between first and last planets in the lineup, Mercury and Saturn, will have grown to 116 degrees.

Most of the planets will retain a similar brightness throughout June, but Mercury will slowly brighten each morning. Mercury will grow brighter as it edges ever nearer to the sun on our sky’s dome. Its nearness to the sun is what will bring this lineup of five planets to an end. Eventually, Mercury will be submerged in the light of dawn.

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