Tinkle Explains
Planet Parade
Writer: Devika Soni
Illustrator: Narendra Pardhi

One hour before sunrise on April 26 and 27, 2022, people across the world saw the Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in a line. And on April 30, you will be able to see Venus and Jupiter close to each other. This rare astronomical occurrence is called a planet parade.

While planet parade doesn’t have a strict scientific definition, it describes a phenomenon when planets of the Solar System line up in a row in the same area of the sky. 

Types of Planet Parades

The deputy director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium, Bhubaneswar, has listed down three types of planet parades.

  1. The planets line up on one side of the Sun. The alignment of three planets on one side is quite common and can be seen many times in a year. However, four planets form a row only once a year while five planets form a row once every 19 years. And all eight planets align only once every 170 years!
  2. A few planets form a line in some part of the Earth’s sky. However, the planets might not be visible if the sky is too cloudy. This type of planet parade last occurred on April 18, 2002 and in July 2020.
  3. This is a rare occurrence when the sky is clear enough for people to see three or more planets lined up in a row in the sky. This can happen several times a year.

The planet parade viewed on April 26 and 27 was the third kind. The last time such a parade took place it was 947 CE, almost 1,000 years ago!

Hindustan Times

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