An artist's rendition of what the rare celestial situation on June 24 will look like. Image Credit: Seyyed Llata/Gulf News

Dubai: A rare parade of five planets and Moon aligned in a line will be visible in the UAE skies on June 24 after 18 years.

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, all five planets that can be seen in the sky with naked eyes will form a planetary parade spanning across a wide swath of the sky. The presence of the Moon in the same line will be an additional treat for observers. The last time this rare phenomenon happened was in December 2004.

According to Sky & Telescope magazine, the planetary lineup in the morning of June 24 will be even more compelling.

To begin with, Mercury will be much easier to notice, making the five-planet parade that much more accessible. And you’ll have about an hour to enjoy the sight, from when Mercury pops up above the horizon to when the rising Sun washes it out of the sky. But the real bonus is the waning crescent Moon positioned between Venus and Mars, serving as a proxy Earth.

Hasan Al Hariri, CEO-Dubai Astronomy Group, said that it is one of the rare astronomical phenomena, to see the lineup to its fullest extent, enthusiast need to arise as dawn is beginning to brighten the sky.

“Keep in mind that it will be decades before you’ll have another opportunity to see the planets and moon arranged in such a manner, so don’t miss this chance,” Al Hariri said.

How do planet parades occur?

A planetary alignment/parade occurs when our Solar System’s planets appear to line up at the same ascension level in the night sky, as seen from Earth. They don’t really create a perfect line in our Solar System. Each planet’s orbital plane causes the illusion. Three-planet parades are quite common and occur about twice a year. The more planets in the parade, the rarer the celestial event is.

Large Planetary Parade

This month we will be witnessing a rare six-planet alignment in our night sky. This alignment is called a Large Planetary Parade, which happens almost every 18- 19 years.

Al Hariri said: “Make sure you have an unobstructed view of the horizons so that you’ll have a clear view of the Moon and planets on given morning. The best views will be either from an elevated area above any tall buildings or trees, or from a shoreline where you can look out over open water to a flat sea horizon.”

How to observe

Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre and Dubai Astronomy Group are organising a paid event to observe this event, during the early hours of Friday June 24.

The Stargazing programme at Al Qudra Desert in Dubai will help the public observe a beautiful Large Planetary Parade (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon, and perhaps Uranus and Neptune too) before the break of dawn, the officials said.

The programme consists of the Saturn and Jupiter Observation, Arabian Astronomy/Sky Mapping Session (Stories about the Constellations), Mars Observation, Q&A Session, Moon Observation, attempting to observe Uranus and Neptune, Venus Observation and Mercury Observation.

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Telescope Observation is possible all throughout the event and photography of celestial objects through the telescopes.

The event will start from 1am and will end by 5am on June 24. TheBrew readers can book the ticket for the event on the website of the Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre.