Look Up! We’re About To Witness A Super-Rare Planetary Alignment This April

Stargazers will be in for a treat next month, as the northern hemisphere will see an extremely unusual alignment of four planets and the moon, all of which will be visible in the night sky at the same time, beginning in April.

Despite all that is now occurring on Earth, 2022 is expected to be a very calm year for astronomical occurrences, with a few notable exceptions.

Over the next three months, astrophotographers will be treated to a rare sighting of four planets from our solar system - Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus – all visible at the same time and aligned in a straight line, which is an extremely rare event.

Saturn has already occupied the pole position for most of this month, but owing to its near closeness to the sun, it has remained virtually invisible to the human eye as it hides behind the sun. It will, however, be visible in the early morning sky beginning towards the end of March.

However, after the skies brighten up in the early mornings of March 24 and 25, Venus and Mars will join Saturn to create a triangle in the sky, with Mars inclined to the right and Saturn tucked away in the lower left.

These three planets will be visible to the naked eye for 60 minutes before dawn, between 5.54 am on March 24 and 5.52 am on March 25. According to Science Focus, Mars will seem orange, Saturn will appear a little brighter yellowy-white, and Venus will be the brightest of the three and form the point of the triangle.

Soon after, they will be joined by a crescent moon, which will join the procession on March 28.

After some more astronomical maneuvering, Saturn and Mars will be in conjunction by 4 April 2022, which means they will appear in the night sky with approximately comparable brightness. They will subsequently be joined by Jupiter, the crown jewel of the solar system, which will appear to complete the set on April 20th, taking its position on the lowest portion of the horizon.

Credit: NASA/ESA/ESO/Space Telescope Science Institute/IAU Minor Planet Center/Fabien Chereau/Noctua Software
Following this, the planets will (literally) align, making a straight line in the night sky that can be seen with the naked eye at roughly 5.30 am on April 26th, with the moon staying around to fill off the set.

So, stargazers set your alarms and prepare your cameras.

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