Gear up for a ‘Parade of Planets’

A unique alignment of six planets, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, will be visible from June 3.
According to NASA, the best time to view the parade is exactly one hour before sunrise, where the naked eye can view the phenomenon.
According to NASA, the best time to view the parade is exactly one hour before sunrise, where the naked eye can view the phenomenon.

BENGALURU: A rare celestial event is on the cards for those interested in stargazing and astronomy over the week.

A unique alignment of six planets, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, will be visible from June 3.

This can be viewed over the next several days provided the sky is clear during predawn. The planetary alignment, also called the ‘Parade of Planets’, is moreover an illusion, where planets are in such positions (on one side of the Sun) that they seem like they are aligned in a single line.

According to NASA, the best time to view the parade is exactly one hour before sunrise, where the naked eye can view the phenomenon.

The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) in Bengaluru said, “The orbits of the planets around the Sun are roughly in the same plane, and each of them is inclined by only a few degrees from the ecliptic (which is the Earth’s orbit).”

Hence, as seen from the Earth, the planet’s positions will be roughly along a plane at all times.” It added that the Moon will be in a crescent phase and about 20 minutes before sunrise, Jupiter and Mars-Moon-Mercury will be less than 10 degrees above the eastern horizon, and won’t be easy to spot. However, people can go out before sunrise every day this week and try to spot as many planets as they can.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium will also host an observation session in the predawn hours of June 3.

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