Sunday, June 2, 2024


 Hey, Space Placers!  

Washington, DC sky June 3, 2024, 5:11 am EDT


 Sky Safari Pro 6.0

A RARE TWO-FER BLOG DAY - but with good reason as China landed on the Moon and the way overhyped planetary parade happens tomorrow morning.

Here's the real deal on that:

Have you seen the following on TV and/or online?

“Skywatchers are in for a treat on June 3, 2024, when a rare alignment of six planets will be visible in the pre-dawn sky. This celestial event, known as a "planet parade," will feature Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune lining up in a spectacular display.” Quote from a TV News channel seen on Google search results for “June 3 Planetary Parade”.

Well, I hate to rain on this “parade”, but it is NOT going to appear as stated above. In fact, other than being clickbait, this celestial happening ain’t gonna’ be that much to see.

Here’s the real deal about tomorrow morning’s sky as stated by Sky and Telescope:

“Let's deal with this first. There is no "planet parade" spectacle! Friends and relatives may be asking you about the incredible "Planet Parade" they've heard is happening in the sky. Some internet and "news" outlets are calling it the third great celestial spectacle of this spring after the solar eclipse and the auroras.

Sorry. This is a case of a crazy-weird falsehood ballooning from a tiny kernel of truth and rolling like wildfire through the modern world.

The kernel of truth? This week, the seven planets other than Earth are in a line spanning about 90° along the ecliptic. But most of them are too close to our line of sight to the Sun to be seen at all. Only modest Saturn and Mars are in naked-eye view as dawn begins these mornings.” 

By the way, the ecliptic is the apparent path that the Sun and its eight planets make as they move through our sky during the year. Planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are visible to the unaided eye while Uranus and Neptune require a telescope. To be accurate, Uranus MIGHT be visible to an unaided eye with perfect vision and dark skies as well as with binoculars. Pluto as you saw in the Sky and Telescope reference is a different story as is the Moon.

In its always excellent monthly skywatching videos, NASA does not even mention the “June 3rd planetary parade” in its June 2024 video but shows what will be visible - Mars, the waning crescent Moon and Saturn. There is lots to see in the June sky.

You can also see what the June 3rd, 2024, Washington, D.C. sky at 5:11 am EDT will look like in the accompanying sky chart.

So, check the weather for tomorrow at WTOP and take a peek at the sky to see the real deal.

By the way, June kicks off my astronomy outreach season at Shenandoah National Park, Peaks of Otter, Capon Springs and Farm and a “Galactic Getaway” at Inn at Perry Cabin.   Hope to see you at one of my events.

Sky Guy in VA

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