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Stargazers can catch a rare alignment of five planets this month

The planets will align this month for a rare extraterrestrial parade.
Image: Milky Way
A person takes a photo of the Milky Way at Nallihan district, in Ankara, on Aug. 12, 2020.Adem Altan / AFP via Getty Images file

Time to get your very excellent mother to serve you nine pizzas and remember your handy planetary mnemonic from your elementary school days!

According to experts, stargazers will be able to see five of earth’s closest planetary neighbors lined up in a row without the help of a telescope through June.

Those looking up to the skies for the alignment can expect to see a golden view of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn lined up in a row and in the order of their distances from the sun.

Speaking to TODAY about the celestial event, Patrick So, an observatory program supervisor at Griffith Observatory, explained that the parade of planets can be seen an hour before sunrise while looking to the East.

“In the early morning, it will look particularly beautiful with the approaching dawn on the eastern horizon,” he told TODAY.

The alignment will last through June, so you won’t have to go out on a particular day to catch the alignment. For those opposed to bouncing out of bed early in the morning, consider making the most of the opportunity to see the five planets aligned by getting up early on June 24.

“I would say that on the 24th, the waning crescent moon actually inserts itself between Venus and Mars,” So explained. “That would be a really beautiful opportunity for anyone who has a cell phone or even a wide-angle camera, or lens with a good camera to take a picture of the planets from the horizon, it will be Mercury, Venus, then the crescent moon and then Mars, Jupiter and Saturn and that that will occur on the 24th.”

While spotting two planets in close proximity is relatively normal (a phenomenon called a conjunction), rare are the moments that multiple planets can be found aligned in their natural order. Two years ago, in December 2020, viewers caught a glimpse of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. According to NBC News, the last time Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were seen in conjunction and visible to the naked eye was in December 2004.