A rare planetary alignment is about to happen: here’s how you can watch it from home

On June 3, six planets will align in a rare spectacle that only happens every few months

Watch a rare planetary alignment from home
Artist’s depiction of the planets of the Solar System

On June 3, six of the eight planets in the Solar System will align. It will be a strange event, since planetary alignments are frequent, since three planets are regularly located in a line, but it is rare for six to do so. It will be a special spectacle that you will be able to glimpse from home.

Which planets will align

For a few hours we will be able to observe a special alignment from Earth. MercuryVenusJupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune will all be placed relatively in line. It won’t be an exact alignment, as some will be higher up, but from Earth we will have the feeling that they form an ascending line. Even the moon will join it. Only Venus will be excluded.

All the planets in the Solar System
All the planets in the Solar System: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune

Planetary alignments are not uncommon. Occasionally we can catch glimpses of several planets in the sky located one behind the other. The rare thing is that there are five, and with more than five even much more. To watch it again, you’ll have to wait until August 28, 2024 and January 18, 2025.

In the Solar System, the planets orbit the Sun at the same time as they orbit themselves. Therefore, by sheer probability, lineups happen.

How and where to view the lineup

Let’s start with the how. This isn’t an eclipse, you don’t need to shield your view of the planets. What you do need is a telescope or powerful binoculars to appreciate certain planets, because, although Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be glimpsed with your eyes, without the help of anything else; Uranus and Neptune are too far away for this, so you’ll need the help of these devices.

The time to see it varies depending on the place on Earth, although in Spain we can appreciate it, in general, during the first hour of the morning, that is, the early morning. The weather conditions will have to be good for this, which it looks like it will be.

To better understand the exact time frame, as the date approaches, we can use various astrology applications. One of the most recommended is Sky Tonight, available for Android and iPhone, although here are some other useful astronomy apps. Another option is to access specialized websites, such as Stellarium.



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