Rare ‘planetary parade’ will march across the dawn sky tomorrow

Five of our solar system’s eight planets will line up on Saturday – or six, counting Earth (Picture: Getty/iStockphoto)

Earlybird astronomers take note – Mercury, Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn will line up at dawn on Saturday, with some visible to the naked eye.

Keen stargazers with a good view of the horizon will get the best chance of spotting the alignment, also known as a planetary parade.

While Jupiter and Saturn will be easy to spot, Neptune and Uranus may require binoculars and Mercury will be visible for a short space of time.

Jessica Lee, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, said: ‘Technically, if you look east just before dawn on the 17th June five planets will appear to be in a line – Mercury, Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn.

‘However, Uranus and Neptune cannot be seen without a telescope, and Mercury is really close to the Sun which means it is hard to spot – once the Sun is rising you won’t be able to see it. So although this is possible it will be very challenging.

‘The easiest to see out of this list will be Jupiter and Saturn. If you look east at around 3.30am you’ll see two bright points of light which are the two planets.

Five planets will line up in the sky on Saturday morning (Picture: Getty/iStockPhoto)

‘If you want an easier planet to spot look west just as the Sun is setting, and you’ll see Venus shining brightly!’

Don Pollacco, a professor at the University of Warwick’s department of physics, added: ‘Jupiter and Saturn will be bright objects that have a yellowy colour, Mercury often looks pink, and Uranus and Neptune pale white-green.’

Alignments occur when the planets in the solar system are all roughly positioned in the same direction when viewed from Earth.

Venus, seen here top right, is the easiest planet to spot in the night sky (Picture: Getty)

Saturn will be the first to rise, followed by Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus and Mercury.

Professor Pollacco said: ‘Given that we understand the orbits of the planets, we can predict when these “alignments” will occur.

‘While the planets may look relatively close together in the sky they are of course separated by many millions of miles.’

The next five-planet alignment will take place on April 20, 2024, which will be a morning parade with Venus, Mercury, Neptune, Mars, and Saturn.

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