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NASA says the alignment will not be visible on June 3


If you want to see a parade of planets, experts say later this month might be better for watching a real celestial show.

People expecting a dazzling parade of planets on Monday, June 3, may be disappointed by what they ultimately see in the sky. Instead, experts say to temper their expectations and wait until the end of the month to see the planets. planetary alignment.

The past few months have been quite eventful for backyard astronomers. First the solar eclipse in April, then the Northern Lights made a rare appearance in May, and now a parade of planets will make its debut in 2024.

However, experts from NASA and Astronomers Without Borders both agree that this will not be the best time to attend the planet parade. That’s because Uranus, Mercury and Jupiter will be swallowed up by the sun’s light and will be too close to the horizon to be visible.

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Experts say be patient: the Planet Parade will be more of a show later in June

“To me, the closest thing to a planet parade is June 29, when you will have Saturn, the third quarter moon, Mars and Jupiter in the sky at sunrise,” said Preston Dyches, a public engagement specialist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it told USA TODAY. Dyches has a background in astronomy and hosts NASA’s “What’s Up,” a monthly video series describing what’s happening in the night sky.

Andrew Fazekas, the communications manager for Astronomers Without Borders, says that when it comes to the planet parade on June 3, it will be virtually impossible to see all the planets with the naked eye.

Both Fazekas and Dyches agree that it is better to see the planetary parade on June 29 instead.

On June 3, Jupiter, Mercury and Uranus will be “way too close to the sun,” Fazekas said. So it will be difficult to see those three planets.

So people who decide to get up before the sun on Monday morning just to catch a glimpse of this heavenly phenomenon may be disappointed.

In this case, good things come to those who wait. And waiting until the end of the month gives stargazers a better chance to view the planets.

“If you are patient and wait until the end of the month, these planets will move further away from the sun, higher in the early morning sky,” Fazekas told USA TODAY. “So you get an easier chance to pick them in the air.

Not only will people get a better view of the planet parade if they wait until June 29, but they will also be able to stargaze at the stars from Friday evening to Saturday morning, instead of having to skip work like on Monday. morning.

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Catch a glimpse of the ‘planet parade’ in the sky

On June 3 and August 28, skywatchers will be treated to an alignment of six planets in the early morning sky.

Excitement from the solar eclipse and the northern lights create a hype around the planet parade

People expect to see something great the morning of June 3, Fazekas said. But he worries that the expectations raised by two highly viral celestial events, the solar eclipse and the Northern Lights, and social media sensationalism could raise people’s expectations a little too high and lead to a lackluster experience.

He adds that he worries that a bad experience that is overhyped online could take away from people’s enthusiasm about astronomy.

“What worries me is that we are letting people down,” Fazekas said. “And then they won’t want to do it again.”

According to Fazekas, he has never seen so many people interested in looking at the sky, and he doesn’t want the excitement to end.

What can you see?

According to a program called SkySafari Pro, on June 29, people will see:

  • Jupiter, which will be closest to the horizon
  • Uranus
  • Mars
  • the moon
  • Neptune
  • Saturn

What is a planetary parade?

Basically, the planets mentioned above form a straight line and look as if they are marching across the night sky. And form a kind of space parade.

It’s also known as a major planetary alignment, says Delaware Online, part of the USA TODAY Network.

What gear do you need to watch a planetary parade?

According to Fazekas, you still need binoculars and telescopes to see some planets.

“Neptune is a planet that you can see with strong binoculars or a small telescope,” says Fazekas. “And it’s not easy to find either.”

People looking at the stars on Friday, June 28, will be able to see Neptune right next to the moon. On June 29, it will be further away from the moon, and instead above it.

Apps, like Skyview in the Apple App Store, can turn people’s phones into a tool to help them identify celestial objects in the night sky.

Where can you see the planetary parade?

According to Fazekas, people will have to do the following to get a view of the planetary parade:

  • Get up early, before sunrise.
  • Find a spot with a clear sky pointing toward the eastern or southeastern sky.
  • Have your binoculars or telescope ready to view planets that are not visible to the naked eye.