Early on Sunday morning, Venus and the crescent moon perform a stunning dance together.

The positions of Venus, the moon, and the Pleiades early on June 26, 2022, as seen from New York City, are depicted on a diagram.
The positions of Venus, the moon, and the Pleiades early on June 26, 2022, as seen from New York City, are depicted on a diagram. (Image credit: Starry Night)

Through this first weekend of the summer, the 2022 uncommon five-planet alignment may still be seen. You have to get up at the crack of dawn to see it at its finest. But if you are, you'll be rewarded with what is probably going to be the most stunning celestial encounter between the moon and Venus, the two brightest objects in the night sky.

It's obviously a bit challenging waking up to witness a celestial event before sunrise because the sun rises so early at this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. The moon will rise high above and to the right of brilliant Venus early on Saturday morning (June 25).

To witness the celestial dance of these two dazzling objects, however, you should set your alarm clock for 60 to 90 minutes before sunrise on Sunday morning (June 26) if the sky is clear. Less than three days before new phase, the extremely thin (7 percent lighted) declining crescent moon may be seen low on the east-northeast horizon. Venus will be located around 2.5 degrees to the right and somewhat below this lunar sliver.

Despite their apparent proximity, the two are really pretty far apart: The moon is now around 515 times closer to Earth than Venus, which is currently 128.8 million miles (207.3 million kilometers) distant. The famed Pleiades star cluster, which has been obscured by the sun's brightness for the past month, is just starting to reappear 6.7 degrees above Venus if you look early enough and with excellent binoculars when the sky is still reasonably black. (As a point of comparison, your clenched fist at arm's length measures around 10 degrees, whereas a dime at arm's length measures 2 degrees across.)

Currently, Venus rises around 12 minutes after the break of dawn. The planet will really appear to rise just a minute or two after the break of dawn in the upcoming weeks as Venus follows the sun across the northernmost region of the ecliptic and over the constellations Taurus and Gemini. This will be true for the final ten days of July. However, by the last week of August, Venus will only be rising around 90 minutes before sunrise, and with each passing morning, it will be descending more and more quickly into the bright morning twilight. Venus will virtually disappear from the early sky by the end of September.

So, despite the terrible time, get up early on Sunday to see Venus when it is still well visible. You will be greeted with a beautiful celestial display when you wake up in the early summer after this encounter with our nearest space neighbor.

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