June 18, 2024

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What you can actually see in the 'June 2024 Planet Preview' |  Forbes Japan official website (Forbes Japan)

What you can actually see in the 'June 2024 Planet Preview' | Forbes Japan official website (Forbes Japan)

Have you ever heard of the “June 2024 planetary alignment”? According to information available on the Internet, a rare “planetary parade” will occur in which six planets will be visible at the same time. Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune will be visible before sunrise on June 3. However, this article about “planetary alignment” is close to misinformation.

A costly mistake

If you take this information seriously, you will either wake up early and lose money, or at best, you will end up watching something much less interesting than you expected.

The source of the information, misunderstood by many writers who had never tried to observe the planet, was a planetarium app for smartphones.Star Walk“It looks like a star walk. The description of Star Walk is based on information about what you can see in the company's app, not what you can see in the actual sky. The problem is that some facts are not conveyed clearly. There are only two planets actually visible, and neither of them are particularly bright or attractive.” private.

The star map below was taken before dawn on June 3 and looks almost the same from anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere (this is the view from Tokyo)

Is it really “amazing”?

The so-called “parade of planets” on June 3, 2024 will only see two planets (Mars and Saturn) with the naked eye (Stellarium)

Two planets are visible

First, the planets are “paraded” across the vast sky. On that day, when the sun soon rises and the sky begins to brighten, here's your real chance to see each planet with the naked eye:

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・Jupiter: It is difficult to see. Very close to the sun
・Mercury: It is difficult to see. It is dark and very close to the sun
・Uranus: Requires a huge telescope and a lot of patience
・Mars: Visible to the naked eye (but dark)
・Neptune: Requires a huge telescope and a lot of patience
・Saturn: Visible with the naked eye (but dark)

The moon takes the leading role

This “Planet Parade” is the most disappointing thing I've ever seen. But there's still a reason to go see it. From June 3 to 4, the waning crescent can be seen near Saturn and Mars.

The timing of monitoring is as follows.

・Monday, June 3: The waning crescent is 17% closer to Mars.
・Tuesday, June 4: Mars and Saturn lie above the thin, waning crescent with a surface brightness of 9%.

During the early morning hours of these two days, you can see the moon's phase change and its position in the sky. It's certainly a beautiful sight, as you see many planets nearby. Six planetary alignments occur, but four of them are up to your imagination.

(Forbes.com original text)