Skywatchers:  Four planets align in a sky of shooting stars


On April 16th a Pink Full Moon appeared in the night sky. And that was the opening door to a very rare skywatchers event. Four planets are set to align beginning April 17th. And it will last through April 24th.

Four planets alignment is a syzygy conjunction

A planetary alignment or conjunction is a common term for when at least two bodies line up in the same area of the sky. The alignment is the view from the earth.  And when at least three bodies are aligned it’s called syzygy conjunction.

This month the bodies are four planets. According to a NASA report, “At the beginning of the month, Mars, Venus, and Saturn were all visible in the early morning. Now, the trio is 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.” 

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The rare event is caused by a coinciding of each planet’s orbit around the sun. And they won’t have this exact conjunction again for years.

 Venus circles around the sun in 225 Earth days. Saturn’s orbit takes 29 years. So, they won’t be lining up again for a while. 

According to NASA, the conjunction may be visible around the world in the early morning hours (April 17th to April 24th). It will be seen in the eastern sky. So, you will be looking towards the sunrise.

One can see it by facing eastwards or toward the sunrise.

Lyrid meteor shower

The planets will perform an elegant dance, throughout the month, as they come into alignment.  

April also marks the first meteor shower since January’s Quadrantids. The Lyrid meteor shows are active from April 15th through the 29th. They usually produce 10 to 15 meteors an hour. And they peak on the 22nd.

The planetary alignment of Mars, Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter should be visible to the naked eye, as long as the weather is clear. And you can use a telescope for a closer view.

The Lyrid meteors are known as welterweights, so a telescope may come in handy. Enjoy the sunrise sky!