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Planetary Conjunction A Nice Touch of Strange New Worlds for Washington - Oregon Coast

Published 06/06/22 at 8:45 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Planetary Conjunction A Nice Touch of Strange New Worlds for Washington - Oregon Coast

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(Astoria, Oregon) – Something truly different and remarkable is headed for the skies above the Oregon coast and Washington coast. In fact, it's here now but just in its early stages. A special planetary alignment takes place throughout June in this coastal region. Five planets will be making a stellar show, with Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn all in conjunction just before dawn. (Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection: the planetary conjunction above Manzanita)

It's the first time such an alignment took place above us since 2004. It's not uncommon to have two or three planets aligning, NASA said, but this is a rare number.

The trick for the coastal regions of Oregon and Washington is that you'll have to look to the east / southeast, which will create some issues because of the coast range or Willapa Hills. Finding an elevated spot along the Washington coast or Oregon coast is best. Especially if you can find one that runs to the southeast a bit, such as the beach angles of the Cape Blanco area on the southern Oregon coast.

The other tricky angle is that Mercury will be the lowest of the bunch, sometimes not visible until an hour before dawn. For awhile, you'll only be seeing the four planets: Venus, with Jupiter and Mars looking quite close to each other, and then Saturn a distance away.

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A planetary conjunction seen from the beaches of Seaside

This five-planet alignment will continue through the month of June, all of happening in the late, late hours of the overnight.

NASA says the five worlds will be lining up in their proper orbit, according to their position to the sun.

All five will be in a row in this manner because they orbit along the plane of the solar system, known as the ecliptic. To human eyes they'll look close, especially Jupiter and Mars, which will appear extremely near each other. However, NASA said to remember each is millions of miles apart from the other.

At one point, a half moon will join the extraordinary lineup in the night skies.

As June goes on, Mercury should start to appear sooner. The best date will likely be on June 24 when Mercury rises an hour before sunup.

The one lucky aspect of the Oregon coast and Washington coastline is that the sunrise is about seven to four minutes later than the inland cities along I-5.

NASA said conjunctions of two or three worlds are fairly common, but five planets lined up like this is a rarity.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees nearly 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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