A rare celestial phenomenon is occurring in our skies throughout June and the best time to see it is this week.

Stargazers will get the opportunity to see the five closest planets lined up in a row, and the moon is joining the party too.

The cosmic event will see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn appear grouped together in the correct order of their distance from the sun, although they are, in reality, millions of miles apart.

According to National Geographic, “having two or three planets huddled together is not all that rare, but the last time we saw a conjunction of the five brightest planets was in December 2004”.

If you miss this one, you will not be able to see it again until 2040.

How to find the aligned planets

To see the planets align, National Geographic recommends finding an unobstructed view of the Eastern Horizon about an hour to 30 minutes before sunrise.

The spectacle should be visible to the naked eye, even in areas with a lot of light pollution. However, by using a telescope or binoculars you might even be treated to sights including cloud bands on Jupiter and Saturn’s rings.

You can also use the moon, which will appear much larger and brighter due to its proximity to earth, to help guide your eye to the planetary line-up:

  • June 20: The moon will appear alongside Neptune
  • June 21: The moon will appear next to Jupiter
  • June 22: The moon will appear neighbouring Mars
  • June 24: The moon will appear beside Uranus
  • June 26: The moon will appear close to Venus
  • June 27: The moon will appear coupled with Mercury

There is also a chance of seeing Uranus and Neptune in the same area but as these are much further away, you will need binoculars or a telescope to spot them.

Look between Venus and Mars to see Uranus, and between Jupiter and Saturn to see Neptune.

Hampshire weather forecast for stargazers

The Met Office is predicting some fine and dry weather for Hampshire this week – ideal for those turning their eyes skyward.

Looking at the weather specifically at sunrise, until Friday it looks set to be the perfect conditions with clear skies predicted at that time.

Saturday morning is perhaps more overcast, but breaks in the cloud will mean there is still a chance of glimpsing the phenomenon.