Planetary parade one-in-1000-year event

By AG STAFF 26 April 2022
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The bright string of lights in the morning sky this month is thought to be a one-in-1000-year event. Australia’s astronomer at large, Professor Fred Watson, explains why and where you can watch it.

Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn are all visible in the sky this week.

While “the alignment was perfect about a week ago, they were really evenly spaced”, according to Australia’s astronomer at large, Professor Fred Watson, “the crescent moon has now appeared in that quartet of planets.

“We’ve heard this is a one-in-1000-year event. I haven’t been watching the skies for 1000 years but I think that’s about right.”

If you missed the show this morning, it will “still be looking pretty good because the moon’s moving nearer to the Sun” between 4.30am and 5am on Wednesday (April 27) and for the rest of the week.

“These alignments, it’s like a celestial dance that’s happening all the time,” Fred said.

“We get another alignment in June… where these four planets – Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn – they’re joined by Mercury. They’re also going to meet the other two planets – Uranus and Neptune – in the sky as well, although you’ll need a telescope to see those. You’ve got the whole suite – I think it’s 24 June.”

In a report, NASA revealed: “At the beginning of the month, Mars, Venus and Saturn were all visible in the early morning. Now, the trio are joined by Jupiter, and the four planets can be seen by the naked eye in a straight line for the rest of April, as long as city lights don’t intrude.” 

The conjunction can be seen across the world in the pre-dawn hours of the morning by looking east or toward the sunrise.