95 days ago
Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Inner Planets feed
All seven planets will be above the horizon at the same time, shortly after sunset. However, Venus and Mercury will be quite tricky to see since they will set very shortly after the Sun. To see them you will need to have a flat western horizon, clear of obstructions such as buildings or trees. At sunset, they will have altitudes of 9.1° and 12.4° respectively.
The planets Neptune and Uranus are too faint to be seen with the unaided eye, and a pair of binoculars or a small telescope is needed to see them. Additionally, since they are no brighter than many stars, a finder-chart is needed to show their positions relative to the surrounding stars. Neptune will lie in the constellation of Aquarius shining at magnitude 7.9; you can find a chart of its position here. Uranus will lie in the constellation of Aries shining at magnitude 5.7; you can find a chart of its position here.
It is relatively rare for all of the planets to be aligned in one hemisphere so as to all be above the horizon at the same moment. Such an alignment between the five planets which are visible to the unaided eye happens roughly once every 6 years, while an alignment that also includes Uranus and Neptune, which require binoculars or a telescope to be seen, happens around once every 70 years.
However, since the planets in the outer solar system – especially Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – move quite slowly through the constellations, such alignments can occur multiple times in quick succession, or not at all for over 100 years.
The positions of all the planets at sunset will be as follows:
The positions of each of the planets will be:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Magnitude||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.
|« Previous||Objects simultaneously visible||Next »|
|16 Jun 2022||All seven planets||07 Jan 2123|
|16 Jun 2022||All five planets that are
visible to the unaided eye
|13 Apr 2036|
The sky on 24 Dec 2022
|The sky on 24 December 2022|
1 day old
All times shown in EST.
The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.
|24 Dec 2022||– Mercury at highest altitude in evening sky|
|23 Jan 2023||– Mercury at highest altitude in morning sky|
|30 Jan 2023||– Mercury at greatest elongation west|
|11 Apr 2023||– Mercury at highest altitude in evening sky|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.