A planetary alignment will appear in the sky next week

Silhouette of a person using a camera on a tripod against a starry sky background.  The nightscape includes a vivid galaxy, the Milky Way.  The scene is perfectly reflected in a calm body of water below, creating a symmetrical and serene composition.

Astrophotographers, get ready: in the coming days a planetary alignment will appear in the sky involving Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus.

In the early hours of June 3 and 4 (Monday and Tuesday), six planets will parade in the sky, plus a waning crescent moon.

However, it will be challenging to capture them all in one go due to their varying degrees of visibility and will therefore likely require clever composition.

But the effort could be worth it because the planets will be in a straight line; It is not unusual for there to be several planets in the sky, but it is rare to be able to draw a diagonal line from Jupiter to Saturn.

Preston Dyches from NASA’s Skywatching Tips video series tells it physical that Mercury and Jupiter will be very low in the sky and difficult to detect.

“Contrary to many reports and social media posts, there will not be a series of planets visible to the naked eye on June 3,” says Dyches.

“Mercury and Jupiter will be too low in the sky at dawn. Even under ideal conditions (a dark sky, free of light pollution), Uranus is very dark and difficult to detect. “Sky glow near dawn makes things worse.”

Illustration of the night sky on June 3, 2024 showing the alignment of the planets.  Labeled planets include Jupiter, Mercury, Uranus, Neptune, Mars and Saturn.  The background features a purple night sky with faint constellations and the silhouette of a mountain range.
An illustration of the night sky next week. | walk of the stars

The alignment occurs because all the planets in the Solar System orbit the Sun in a plane known as the ecliptic.

According Scientific alertWhen the planets congregate on the same side of the Sun as part of their natural orbit, people on Earth can see them all at the same time.

This is what is happening in early June but, as Dyches says, not all planets will be easy to see. He says the “real parade” will take place later this month, when Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon will be visible to the naked eye around 05:00.

“If you went out that morning, you could see those four objects at the same time, and that is not the same for June 3,” he adds.

Time and Date has an interactive tool that allows you to find the exact times of planetary rises so you can prepare accordingly.

For tips on astrophotography, check out PetaPixel’s guide.