When we talk about proper alignment, we’re often talking about our spines, or our priorities, or perhaps our metaphysical place in the universe.
Contributor Jean Creighton is all for those kinds of calibrations, but the kind of alignment she wants to talk about in this month’s astronomy chat is planetary.
"We have an unusual situation where we can see four planets, practically simultaneously, in the night sky," she notes.
The planet Mars is closer to the Earth than usual, according to Creighton, making it approximately three times brighter than its usual appearance during the summer viewing season. Mars, along with Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn will be visible and aligned to the naked eye — even with city light pollution.
"From that point of view, it kind of reminds you of the beauty of celestial mechanics, how we can predict with such accuracy where planets are going to be," she says.
Creighton joined Lake Effect's Bonnie North in the studio to give some pointers in how to view and identify these planets in the summer night sky: