Skywatchers: Seven planet parade marks the end of 2022


OMSI Director of Space Science Education, Jim Todd, recommends looking for the five aligned planets about 30 minutes after sunset.

 Venus is the brightest and easiest to spot. Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury are a little dimmer, but still visible. And to see Uranus and Neptune grab the binoculars.

Todd says the alignment needs to be seen before Jan. 8, 2023. Because that’s the date that “Mercury sinks below the western horizon, as it makes its westward journey.”

This year’s rare planet parade features both Neptune and Uranus. It takes Neptune 165 years to orbit our sun. And its sun orbit takes Uranus 84 years.

Peroomian explains that “The outer planets move a lot slower: Jupiter takes 12 years to orbit the Sun, Saturn takes 29. So, as long as Jupiter and Saturn are visible, which happens unless they’re on opposite sides of the Sun from our point of view, then the remaining planets will eventually line up.”

It won’t be possible to see both planets in the night sky at the same time for several decades,” he added.