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5 planets align in a rare celestial display

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5 planets align in a rare celestial display
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This month, a rare celestial event near the Earth promises sky watchers the chance to see the five planets that will be visible to the naked eye, in the sky before sunrise. This rare event is one where Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have aligned in the order of distance from the Sun and can be viewed without the aid of binoculars or telescopes.

Conjunction is when two to three planets come together, and the conjunction of five planets is rare. It was in December 2004 that such a phenomenon last occurred.

Those who wish to see this event need an early start as Mercury, which lies nearest to the sun will disappear as soon as the sun rises. This can be viewed from an elevated ground which has an unobstructed view and can be seen from the eastern horizon before sunrise, NDTV reported.

Although they appear in this formation throughout the month, it can be difficult to see them every day. However, on some dates, the alignment will be in all its glory. The first of these days were June 3rd and June 4th.

According to Sky & Telescope, the next date where the alignment is at its best is on June 24, which will be even more impressive as the planets will be joined by the crescent moon. On that morning, all five planets will be visible for longer (approximately one hour), and it will be easier to spot Mercury as it will rise and shine in the sky. Additionally, the crescent moon will also be seen placed between Venus and Mars.

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"This is really cool," Prof Beth Biller, personal chair of exoplanet characterisation at Edinburgh University's Institute for astronomy, told The Guardian. "We now know of many other stars hosting multiple planets. This is a rare opportunity to see the same thing closer to home, with all five 'naked eye' planets in our solar system visible at once."

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