SAN ANTONIO – Some San Antonians were up before the sun on Friday morning to catch a glimpse of a rare astronomical conjunction.
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were aligned in their natural order across the morning sky in a rare conjunction. The conjunction has been visible for a couple of weeks, but what made Friday morning really special was that the waning crescent moon also lined up in position between Venus and Mars — taking the place of Earth in the planetary lineup.
KSAT Photojournalist Steven Chavez was one of those early risers. In fact, he was already at work and captured the planetary conjunction over the downtown skies above KSAT.
You can watch his video in the player at the top of this article.
In astronomical terms, conjunction is when two or more objects appear to line up in the sky.
“Planets are often getting closer to each other and farther away from each other, but this is just a particularly fun order. It’s just coincidence,” Michelle Thaller, an astronomer at NASA told the Washington Post. “It’s just kind of this really sort of fun tour of the solar system that you can take for free.”
Over the next few months, the planets will appear to spread out across the morning sky. And by September, Venus and Saturn won’t be viewable for most morning sky observers, according to NASA.
All eight planets will never perfectly align due to our different orbits and tilts. Conjunctions of several planets happen fairly often, but the conjunction of five planets only happens about every 20 years.
According to the Washington Post, the last time five planets aligned was in Dec. 2004 and the next time it will happen will be in 2040.
See some pictures of the event submitted by KSAT viewers through KSAT Connect: