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Now open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.*

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*Open for field trips Tuesdays – Fridays.

See the predawn planet parade

June 17, 2022
By Amy Sayle

This month you can watch a predawn planet parade. Five planets in our solar system are visible to the unaided eye, and not only are all five of them part of the parade, they also happen to appear in the sky in the same order as their distance from the Sun.

Try looking in the east around 30 to 45 minutes before sunrise. From lowest to highest, you’ll see Mercury, very bright Venus, reddish Mars, bright Jupiter, and yellowish Saturn. To have the best shot at seeing Mercury, try observing on or near June 24, 2022, and find a view to the east that isn’t obstructed by buildings or trees.

The predawn planet parade at 45 minutes before sunrise on June 24, 2022 (Credit: Stellarium)

Starting on the morning of June 18, the Moon joins the parade, appearing to pass by the planets. The Moon appears near Saturn on June 18, near Jupiter on June 21, and near Mars on June 22. On June 26, look low in the east about 30 minutes before sunrise for a close pairing of the very thin crescent Moon just to the left of brilliant Venus. 

What about the other planets in our solar system? You’ll want a telescope to see them, but they’re also part of the line-up. Uranus lies to the upper right of Venus, and Neptune to the right of Jupiter. (In this blog post learn how to tell a planet from a star and why the planets often appear so orderly, in a line.)

We’d love for you to join us for summer skywatching. We’ll be stargazing from the Durham Hotel rooftop once a month through September. Also stay tuned for information about an event at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh to observe the Perseid meteor shower in August.

For climate-controlled stargazing, come to Morehead’s fulldome theater for our live star show, Carolina Skies, on Saturdays and Sundays at 4:30 p.m. this summer.