Five Planets at Dawn

June 2022 is a special month. Just before sunrise you can see all five naked-eye planets in a lovely arc from east to south: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. (Uranus and Neptune are there, too, but you’ll need a telescope to see them.) And in late June, a lovely crescent Moon joins the scene.

I ventured to Ft. Tryon Park at 4 AM to see the alignment and brought the dogs with me, who thought this was very exciting — at first. When they realized that the plan was to just stand there, staring at the sky, their disappointment was clear. Couldn’t I see the skunks wandering around nearby? The rats? So much more interesting!

I think the teenagers hanging out at the overlook, smoking pot and listening to loud music, were also disappointed (and puzzled) by my presence.

Anyway, the planets and Moon were beautiful. I was especially happy to spot the ever-elusive Mercury, always a difficult planet to catch. With Venus as a guide I acquired him in my binoculars, and was then able to track him unaided — a fun challenge in the shimmering low-altitude air over Manhattan and the Bronx.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the photography skills to properly capture the planets in the sky. In the photo above you can see Venus, Mars, and Jupiter, but my camera (at the default settings) couldn’t capture Mercury, which was in the same field of view. This has inspired me to learn more about photography. Maybe I’ll have some better photos of the next alignment . . .

Location: Ft. Tryon Park, Manhattan