Planets, moon will align Friday morning; some clouds in the forecast

(National Weather Service Riverton graphic)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Just three days after the summer solstice, space has another event lined up — literally.

Five planets and the moon will align early Friday morning, National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Hattings said in a YouTube video released this morning.

“Well, it’s going to be a morning event, so you’d have to wake up really early or go to be really late to see this,” Hattings said. “The best view will be look to the east-southeast sky between about 4 and 5 o’clock.”

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The planets will line up diagonally and they’ll appear in the order of the sun from north to south with the moon falling between Venus and Mars, according to Hattings.

Saturn will appear to have the greatest distance from the other planets at the upper point of the diagonal line. In order, heading toward the horizon, stargazers will be able to see Jupiter, Mars, the moon and Venus, if the weather cooperates.

Mercury will be hard to see, if visible at all, because of the early sunrise here and because it will be low on the horizon, Hattings said. Someone with a “really high exposure camera” may get lucky, he added.

Thursday night’s forecast calls for partly cloudy skies over Gillette with a low around 57, the weather service said. Winds should come from the northeast 6 to 10 mph becoming southwest after midnight. Heading into Friday, there’s a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. The day should be mostly sunny as the high approaches 73, according to the forecast.

Klark Byrd is the Managing Editor for Oil City News, Cap City News and County 17. His award-winning journalism career started here in 2007 in Sidney, Nebraska, and has taken him to North Dakota, Georgia and Texas before landing to Wyoming. Feel free to contact him at