Parade Of Planets: Not Really A Parade, Still Worth A Look

Parade Of Planets: Not Really A Parade, Still Worth A Look

In a wildspread misinformation, the internet has been claiming the rare space event taking place on June 3, 2024, intending to see a 'Parade Of Planets'. These claims have been debunked by Preston Dyches, host of NASA’s “Skywatching Tips” video series.

Manasi KambleUpdated: Friday, May 24, 2024, 12:18 PM IST
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Parade Of Planets | X

A story about a space event that is supposedly scheduled for June 2024 has been going viral for the past few weeks. It talks about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the planets neatly aligned in the sky, with six planets lining up 20 minutes before sunrise with the naked eye.

The alignment of Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune is scheduled for June 3. There will not be a parade, in contrast to what the widely shared photo from Star Walk Astronomical News suggests.

What you should know about the 'Parade of Planets'

An alignment of planets is provided here. Either the remaining four planets are too close to the sun to be seen, or you will need a strong telescope and some technical know-how to get a good look at them.

The Theory Debunked

Senior contributor Jamie Carter refuted the initial claims made by the smartphone planetarium app Star Walk in a story that was published on Forbes on Sunday morning.

Carter reports that although Star Walk states that all six of these planets will be visible shortly before sunrise on June 3, in actuality, the planets will be dispersed over a vast expanse of the sky.

Out of the six planets in alignment, only two will be visible to the unaided eye; both will be hazy and difficult to see. These are Mars and Saturn.

Either the remaining four planets are too close to the sun to be seen, or you will need a strong telescope and some technical know-how to get a good look at them.

NASA Backs Carter's Claim

Independent corroboration of Carter's assertions came from Preston Dyches, host of NASA's "Skywatching Tips" video series.

Echoing Carter's assertions, Dyches wrote in an email to the LA Times that Mercury and Jupiter would be too low in the sky to be visible at sunrise.

Even in optimal circumstances, Dyches added, Uranus is difficult to spot. Furthermore, he claims that Neptune is six times fainter than Uranus and must be seen through a telescope.

Which astronomical events take place in June?

June will be a rather quiet month in terms of unusual astronomical occurrences, especially in light of the historical events of April and May.

There are no forecasted events, but there will be plenty of opportunities to see the moon's eight phases, according to NASA's Daily Skywatching Guide.

Where Did The Misconception Raise?

The source, misconstrued by a horde of writers who have probably never even tried to observe a planet, seems to be in the Star Walk app, which is a planetarium for smartphones. Instead of looking up at the sky, it bases its information on what is visible on its app. The problem is, it does not explain that you will only really see two planets, and neither of them will be very impressive or bright.

What Will Actually Be Happening?

First of all, this "planetary parade" occurs over a vast expanse of sky. As the sun is going to rise and the sky is getting brighter, it becomes a rare phenomenon when more than four planets align. If you do want to experience the alignment, these are your actual chances of seeing every planet with the unaided eye:

Jupiter: Difficult since it is so near the sun.

Mercury: Difficult since it is so near the sun.

Uranus: A large telescope and a lot of perseverance are required.

Mars: Dimly visible with the unaided eye

Neptune: A large telescope and a lot of perseverance are required.

Saturn: Dimly visible with the unaided eye

Even though it all adds up to one of the most disappointing "planet parades" you will ever see or not see, you should still go take a look. A waning crescent moon will be visible near Saturn and Mars between May 31 and June 2.

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