Do look up: Planets to form an orderly queue this weekend

Cosmos Magazine


Cosmos is a quarterly science magazine. We aim to inspire curiosity in ‘The Science of Everything’ and make the world of science accessible to everyone.

By Cosmos

Get up early, find a dark part of your area and look to the sky on June 3, because for anywhere from midnight to sunrise you’ll be able to spot most of the Solar System’s planets.

The first cab off the rank will be Saturn, rising in most regions just after midnight in the east, chased by Neptune, before a waxing crescent Moon (ensuring little light pollution) with Mars.

Uranus, Mercury and Jupiter will appear in a cluster a few hours later, with the red gas giant the final flicker of light to be visible before sun-up.

These objects should all, roughly, fall in line and emanate from the eastern horizon.

Brave skywatchers (especially in the southern hemisphere) can see these flickering lights over the course of about 6 hours.

But it won’t be entirely straightforward.

Sadly, the distant Neptune and Uranus will be impossible to spot without a telescope or powerful binoculars, but Mars and Saturn will be easily seen without assistance.

Mercury and Jupiter would be potential sightings but there may be a risk of light pollution as the Sun edges closer to rise, so you’ll need to be looking east the moment Jupiter enters the sky.

For Australians, the key times to know for the morning of June 3 are:

CitySaturn riseJupiterSun

Unfortunately for those hoping for a full line-up of the other 7 planets, Earth’s closest neighbour Venus will be blocked by the Sun. The next time the full set will be visible is towards the western horizon after sunset on 28 February 2025.

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