When Do The Planets Align? What Does This Astrological Alignment Mean? | Kidadl


When Do The Planets Align? What Does This Astrological Alignment Mean?

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Planets in our solar system are categorized as inner planets and outer planets.

The inner planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, while the outer planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Pluto is now no longer considered a planet but a dwarf planet.

Do you know what planetary alignment is? Planetary alignment is the appearance of all the planets of our solar system in the same 180-degree wide pane of the sky. As the Earth orbits around the sun, inner planets like Venus and Mercury appear to shift positions quickly as compared to outer planets like Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune. The last impressive planetary alignment occurred in April 2002. During this time Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Mercury were visible on the western horizon resembling the shape of a celestial necklace.

Astronomy and astrology are very similar terms used to refer to the study of planets. Both fields have separate meanings and significance. Astronomy is a proper branch of science which deals with the space, universe, and planets. Astrology is a pseudo-science that claims that human affairs and terrestrial events are affected by the positions of the planets and other celestial bodies. Astronomy considered that we have eight planets in our solar system, while astrology considered that there are ten planetary bodies, including the sun and the moon.

If you also think about the above questions and want their answer, then stick to this article. You will find answers to all your questions about why does planetary alignment seem to happen or occur at a specific point in time only. Afterward, do check our answers on why do people believe in astrology and why do we only see one side of the moon.

When do the planets in our solar system all line up?

Technically speaking, all eight planets in our solar system never line up in planetary alignment as you have seen in books or movies. If you see this phenomenon in a two-dimensional scenario, you can see all the eight planets in a single line. But our solar system is not a two-dimensional space. In three-dimensional space, all eight planets in our solar system never literally aligned in a single line. All of them have a different plane in which they orbit the sun.

You can understand this with an example. Imagine some fireflies are circling your head. Will they ever come in a single line? Each of them has a different path. Now take your head as the sun and the flies as the planets. When astronomers use the phrase 'planetary alignment', they do not mean the alignment of all eight planets. They just mean the alignment of only a few planets, maybe two or three.

Also, the alignment depends on the viewpoint of the viewer. Sometimes, the planets seem to be aligned when seen from Earth, but when seen from the sun's viewpoint, they may not be aligned. So, the planetary alignment is not just about planets, it also includes the factor of viewpoint.

When will the next large planetary alignment occur?

All major eight planets can not come into perfect alignment because of tilt in the orbits.


Planets in our solar system orbit the sun at different axes and in their own different plane and sometimes they all align in a single row which looks like the image of the solar system in the night sky which you might have seen in your books. But this alignment in the sky is a very rare astronomical event.

Sometimes only the brightest planets align in a row which looks like a necklace. This astronomical event happens in an interval of roughly 50 years. Last time, in April 2000, Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn, Mars, and Venus appeared above the western horizon in this alignment. The next time you will be able to see this is 2040, as predicted by astronomers. Now let’s see some more related information.

It is calculated that during the period of 2021-2024, the Earth will move directly between Jupiter and Saturn. This alignment was last witnessed in 79 A.D. And also in 2023-2024, Uranus, Pluto, Saturn, and Jupiter will also align, and this was witnessed last in 536-578 A.D.

When was the last time all the planets aligned?

Astronomers do not believe in the theory of alignment of all the eight planets in the night sky at the same time. They believe that in the three-dimensional world, it can never be possible for all the eight planets to align in the same line.

Some calculations show that the last time all the planets aligned together within a thirty-degree area was in 561 BC. It is also calculated that the next such alignment will happen in 2854. But, unfortunately, you won’t be alive to see that because it has a very long time to go. Probably your grandchildren would be able to see that.

In December 2020, great conjunction took place. In this conjunction, the giant Jupiter and Saturn came close to each other in Aquarius. Both the planets almost overlapped each other from Earth’s point of view. In this alignment, only two planets came close, but this is also considered great conjunction.

What is a planet parade? what to expect from it?

Scientifically, there is no such term as a planet parade. It is just an astronomical term used to refer to planetary alignment. It is also used for the phenomenon where all the planets appear together in the night sky, irrespective of the alignment. They may be in a particular area of the sky or just scattered in the night sky, enough to be seen.

Planet parades are referred to as 'appulse'. According to the number of planets that participate in the parade, there are the following types of planet parades:

Mini planet parade: when three planets appear closely in the night sky.

Small planet parade: when four planets appear closely in the night sky.

Large planet parade: when five or six planets appear in the night sky.

Great or full planet parade: when all the eight planets appear together in the night sky (this is the rarest form of planet parade).

When is the three-planet ‘conjunction’?

Three-planet conjunction is the appearance of three planets together in the night sky. Many times, since the creation of the earth, three of the eight planets have appeared close to each other in the night sky. You will be able to see the conjunction of Mars, Saturn, and Mercury in 2026.

This event has some astrological significance. It is believed that this alignment can have both negative as well as positive impacts. This depends on which three planets are aligning.

Do not get confused with triple-planet conjunction and triple conjunction. Triple-planet conjunction is the appearance of three planets nearby each other in the night sky, but triple conjunction is when two planets closely pass each other three times in a short period of time.

What happens when the planets align?

Our solar system features eight planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. In astrology, the alignments and positions of the planetary bodies have significant value. According to astrology, the positions of the planets at the time of your birth define a lot about you. Each planet has a significant value and role to play in your life.

In astrology, a pseudo-science, it is believed that when the alignment of planets occurs in a straight line with the sun, either it will be the greatest fortune for the universe or it will be the greatest disaster. But, when planets align in a straight line, according to astronomy, there will be no effect on Earth, or on the life of the Earth. According to NASA, the next alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Mercury will be observed around 8 September 2040.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for when do the planets align, then why not take a look at where does light come from, or why do atoms share electrons in covalent bonds?

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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