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June 2, 2024

Planet Parade: A Beautiful Sight, Not as Rare as You Think

The excitement around the June 3 planet parade has taken the world by storm, with many touting it as a rare celestial phenomenon. Social media is buzzing with claims that this event, where multiple planets align and are visible to the naked eye, will only happen on this specific date. However, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) in Bengaluru has released a series of posts clarifying the misconceptions and shedding light on the true nature of this astronomical event.

Niruj Mohan Ramanujam, head of IIA’s SCOPE section, emphasized that the planet parade is not confined to June 3 alone. “For one, it is not exclusively on June 3. These planets can be seen aligned over many days in the coming week,” he stated. According to Ramanujam, while June 3 is optimal for viewing because Jupiter is closest to the Sun before this date and Mercury gets closer afterward, the planets will be visible on multiple days.

Ramanujam encourages enthusiasts to step outside before sunrise throughout the week to spot the celestial bodies. He explains that during the week, viewers can expect to see the yellowish Saturn high up in the eastern morning sky, with the reddish Mars positioned halfway below. However, he notes that some planets will be challenging to spot. “About 20 minutes before sunrise, Jupiter and Mercury will be less than 10 degrees above the eastern horizon. Uranus and Neptune, as always, are too faint to be seen with naked eyes. Venus will appear too close to the Sun,” Ramanujam added.

One of the common misconceptions circulating on social media is that the planets will align in a straight line only on June 3. Ramanujam refutes this, explaining that the planets’ orbits around the Sun are roughly in the same plane and inclined by only a few degrees from the Ecliptic (Earth’s orbit). Therefore, the planets appear to be aligned along a plane when viewed from Earth at all times.

Ramanujam further clarifies that such planetary alignments are not rare events. “The occasions where more than three to four planets are on one side of the Sun and are closer to each other than usual are called planet parades,” he explained, adding that these occurrences can be observed every few years.

Despite the clarification, Ramanujam acknowledges the beauty of the event. “Rare or not, it is always a treat to see the planets with our naked eyes,” he admitted. The sight of multiple planets aligning in the sky is indeed a spectacle worth waking up early for. “It really is a pretty sight. But just remember, if you oversleep on June 3, you can always get up early the next day to catch up on the show,” Ramanujam concluded.

In summary, while the June 3 planet parade may not be as exclusive or rare as initially believed, it remains a delightful event for sky watchers. The IIA’s insights serve to correct the misinformation and provide a more accurate understanding of this celestial occurrence. So, whether you catch the parade on June 3 or any other day in the coming week, the sight of aligned planets will undoubtedly be a memorable experience.

Read more latest news on R9 News

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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