HONOLULU (KHON2) — During the month of June, you’ll have the chance to see a rare spectacle in the skies: a lineup of five planets that only happens once every 18 years. The last time it happened was in 2004, and the next time will be in 2040.
From June 18 through June 27, all five visible planets — meaning the ones that can be seen without a telescope — will be lined up across the pre-sunrise morning sky from the eastern horizon to high in the southwest. They’ll appear in order by distance from the Sun.
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Closest to the eastern horizon is Mercury, then Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The Moon will also move through the lineup over the week appearing close to Saturn on June 18, Jupiter on June 21, Mars on June 22, and between Venus and Mercury as a very thin crescent on June 26.
Though they appear close in the sky, they are actually tens of millions of miles apart.
How to see the lineup in Hawaii
Tony Smith, Bishop Museum’s Planetarium Supervisor, told KHON2 that viewing the lineup in Hawaii will be best with a clear horizon to the east like Windward Oahu.
“Anyone living where mountains are to their east will have a hard time seeing Mercury at all because it never gets very far above the horizon before the Sun makes the sky too bright as it rises,” said Smith.
On average this will be best viewed between now and June 27. After this, Mercury will be too close to the Sun to be easily visible before sunrise. However, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will remain in the early morning skies through July.
Smith said Saturn can also be seen in the eastern nighttime sky after around 11:30 p.m. in mid-June, and by 10:30 p.m. near the end of the month, rising about four minutes earlier every night.
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