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Planet Parade: Plan Now to See 6 Planets in the Sky on June 3


Backyard skygazers, get ready for a planetary parade, a celestial event where the planets line up in the sky. The next one will happen June 3, and if you’re in the right part of the world on that night, you should be able to see up to six planets.

Eagle-eyed viewers will be able to see Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and Saturn with the naked eye. Those with high-powered binoculars or a telescope will also be able to peep at Uranus, which will be located near Mercury, and Neptune, which will be near Saturn.

This is the second planet parade to occur this year. The last one was during the 2024 solar eclipse. People who were in the path of totality could spot Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and Mars right in the middle of the eclipse, although Mars and Saturn may have been a bit more difficult to spot.

The six visible planets, as shown in the SkyTonight app. The six visible planets, as shown in the SkyTonight app.

The six visible planets will line up across the early morning sky on June 3, thought not everyone can see them.

SkyTonight app

The best vantage point for Americans hoping to see the lineup will be in New York state on the morning of June 3 between 5 a.m. ET and just before sunrise, which is slated for 5:26 a.m. It’s not a large window of time, especially if you intend to set up a telescope to view all six planets. 

Various parts of the eastern seaboard will be able to see at least part of the parade at varying times. For example, Florida will be able to see Saturn, Mars, Mercury and Jupiter just before sunrise at around 6 a.m. Ohio will be able to see the same quartet at around 5:40 a.m. If you’re in another part of the country, you may be able to see only a couple of planets, but we’ll explain below how to check the view where you are.

Venus will also be there, but will be impossible to see because it’s right next to the sun. The six-planet parade will be visible every morning for around a week or so. Eventually, Mercury will get too close to the sun to be visible and the already barely visible planets will simply be too far away. Jupiter, Mars and Saturn will remain visible in the early morning sky for weeks. 

View of all six planets as New Yorkers will see it. View of all six planets as New Yorkers will see it.

Some lucky New York state residents will have a great view of all six planets.

Stellarium

The celestial event will be viewable for a few days in other regions. Sydney, Australia, will be able to see it as early as May 28 while Tokyo and Athens will see it on June 2. Those in other parts of the world will be able to see at least part of the parade between May 28 and June 6

The rest of the world has more options, although they are spaced apart. Star Walk says that several regions will get to see the six-planet parade. They include:

  • São Paulo: May 27
  • Sydney: May 28
  • Mexico: May 29
  • Abu Dhabi: May 30
  • Hong Kong: May 30
  • Athens and Tokyo: June 2
  • New York: June 3

Will my area see the planetary parade?

It looks like East Coasters are going to get a better chance than the rest of the nation to see this, especially those in New York state. There are various tools online that let you scope out the night sky and see where the planets are. The two we used to verify the information in this article are Stellarium’s website and the Sky Tonight app (on iOS and Android).

With either app, you can key in your current location, change the time to anywhere between June 3 and June 7 and then move the time around between sunset and sunrise. The Sky Tonight app shows the planetary locations regardless of how visible they will be from Earth, while Stellarium shows what the sky will look like from Earth. 

Thus, our advice is to use the Sky Tonight app to see where all six planets are going to be and then use Stellarium to see how visible they’ll be at various times from your location on Earth. Between the two resources, you should be able to find out exactly which dates are the best for planet parade viewing in your area. 

Will I need any special equipment?

For those in ideal locations, four of the planets will be visible with the naked eye, including Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Mercury. To see Neptune and Uranus, you will need high-powered binoculars or a telescope. Due to the sky being brighter since it’s just before dawn and the distance away from Earth, they will be much harder to spot overall and visible only with extra equipment. 

This is fairly typical of large alignments. The planets are all there, but they’re not all particularly visible without some sort of assistance. Some folks have managed to get photos with camera lenses. However, the process isn’t easy, and you’ll need special filters if you want good detail. 

Note that your area may not have a full view of the parade, but in most places, you should be able to spot three or four planets — still a marvel. Cloudy weather can, of course, interfere with your viewing, as can city lights, if you live in a highly populated area.

Is a planetary parade the same as a planetary alignment?

 A planetary parade is a colloquialism for the visual phenomenon of planets lining up in the night sky at the same time. It’s not an official astronomy term, but NASA has referred to this phenomenon as a “parade of planets“, so it’s fairly common. 

By contrast, planetary alignment has two definitions. The more common one is the same as a planetary parade, which describes planets visibly lining up in the night sky. They can be as few as three planets and as many as all of them, although the definitions of what constitutes a small, large or great alignment tend to differ from one source to another. In general, three planets constitutes a mini alignment, four planets a small alignment and five to seven planets is considered a large alignment. 

The other definition for planetary alignment is more literal and describes when the planets actually line up in orbit. This is much rarer and almost never happens. The last reported incident of a full planetary alignment via this definition was in 949 and won’t happen again until May 6, 2492. The upcoming alignment is the visual kind. The planets will be visible from Earth, but they won’t be in orbital alignment. 

To make things even more confusing, NASA and astronomers also refer to seeing multiple planets in the night sky as a conjunction. One such example was in 2022 when a Venus, Mars and Saturn conjunction was seen in the first week of April.

When is the next planetary parade after this one?

Smaller planetary parades happen all the time. It’s not difficult to catch three or four planets in the sky at the same time at varying points throughout the year in most parts of the world. The rare ones occur when there are five or more planets.

There are a total of five such events that will occur through the end of 2025:

  • June 3, 2024
  • Aug. 28, 2024
  • Jan. 18, 2025
  • Feb. 28, 2025 
  • Aug. 29, 2025

The Feb. 28, 2025, date is particularly notable because all seven of the other planets in our solar system will be visible at the same time, although you’ll likely need a telescope to see a few of them.



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