PLANETARY ALIGNMENT (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     3rd June 2024        
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Context: Recently, a Parade of Planets occurred as Saturn, Mars, Uranus, Neptune, Jupiter, and Mercury aligned in the sky.

Planetary Alignment 

  • Definition: It refers to the rare positioning of planets within the solar system, creating an illusion of alignment in a straight line.

o According to NASA, planetary alignment occurs when two or more planets appear close together in the sky, forming a conjunction.

  • Optical Illusion vs. Actual Event: It's crucial to recognize that planetary alignment is primarily an optical illusion rather than a tangible occurrence.
  • Causes of Planetary Alignments:

o Planets orbit the Sun at varying speeds and distances, leading to frequent movements relative to each other in the night sky.

o Occasionally, the orbital paths of planets intersect, resulting in apparent alignments or conjunctions.

  • Next planetary alignment: August 28, involving the same six planets.
  • Anticipated Events: NASA projects three similar planetary alignment events in 2025, indicating the periodic nature of this phenomenon.