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Rare five-planet parade to dazzle the night sky this weekend

Get set for a planetary parade when Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will sequentially align for the first time in 19 years. This will be visible in the predawn sky this weekend for UAE sky watchers and sky gazers worldwide. It’s said just before sunrise, planets will be visible with the naked eyes in an arc on 24 June 2022. One of the best things about this planetary alignment is the brightness. Under clear skies, it should even be visible from cities and towns, and you’ll need an unobstructed view of the eastern and southern horizon.

The parade of planets will be best seen about 45-60 minutes before sunrise on cloud-free mornings through then. An additional bonus is the waning crescent Moon, shining between Venus and Mars. It will be slightly out of the “planetary line,” traveling from planet to planet during the latter half of June. In astronomy, a conjunction occurs when two celestial objects or spacecraft have the same right ascension or ecliptic longitude, as measured from Earth.

In case you’re worried about the gravitational effects of such an alignment, don’t be. The extra pull on the Earth is negligible. Certain alignments are useful, however. During the 1970s, NASA exploited a special alignment of the planets to send space probes on a ‘grand tour’ of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune with minimal effort. Such an alignment occurs just once every 175 years. Fortunately, it came just after NASA scientists figured out how to put it to use.

The last time the planets aligned in a similar way was back in 2004, and it won’t happen again until 2040, so it’s worth getting a glimpse if you can.

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