Kentucky June 22, 2022
Five Different Planets Will Align In The Kentucky Night Sky During An Incredibly Rare Display
Here in Kentucky, we know that immense wonders can be found both
above and below ground. But as a collective group, it’s not that often that we gaze into the skies; most of us are instead focused on the immediate here and now, or, all too often, our screens. This June, however, we’re urging you to look up… way up. Because there’s an incredibly rare “planet parade” event happening over the dark skies of Kentucky, and it’s something you really ought to experience.
The skies have long fed and fueled the wanderlust of naturalists, romantics, artists, and adventurers, their infinite nature simultaneously grounding and inspiring.
And while there are some stellar dark sky parks in Kentucky -- including
Mammoth Cave National Park -- for epic stargazing, adventure-seekers in the Midwest will soon be treated to a bucket-list-worthy sky-watching experience during this summer’s incredibly rare ecliptic event that’s viewable with the naked eye – or a simple pair of binoculars.
This month, Kentucky stargazers can leave the fancy equipment behind during a a "planet parade" event where the five naked-eye planets become visible on their respective planes of the solar system, known as the ecliptic.
During this incredibly rare event, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will line up in perfect formation in their proper orbital order from the sun.
The last time we had an in-sequence five-planet planet parade in our part of the country was way back in 2004, making this summer's event very special, indeed.
Visible without a telescope, the planets will appear almost within striking distance of one another, though they won't be nearly as close as they appear; each of these worlds is actually millions of miles away from the others. The best time to view the five planets is in the 30 minutes before sunrise.
As the month progresses, the spectacle will become more dazzling, with peak viewing happening June 24. On this date, Mercury will rise an hour before the sun and a crescent moon will add extra sparkle... so mark your calendars!
While visible all across the skies of the Midwest, finding more secluded areas with low light pollution will help novice astronomers spot the phenomenon, so do some research and pick your stargazing spot now! In addition to Mammoth Cave,
Land Between the Lakes is another stellar spot for stargazing in Kentucky.
For additional information about how to observe the planet parade in Kentucky this June, be sure to peruse the
official press release from Sky & Telescope Magazine.
For more wondrous nighttime displays in Kentucky, be sure to check out one of the monthly
Moonbow occurrences at Cumberland Falls!