Parade of Planets

The Company We Keep is a column on the CN&CO blog that profiles some of the most interesting people in our networks. Here we share the details of the lives of people we know, showcasing the extraordinary diversity of our society and proving that people truly are at the heart of everything we do.

This blog was written by Blake Dyason, who met Peter Dunsby in the Cederberg, one of the best star gazing locations in South Africa. 

It was in the middle of the Cederberg on a cold and dark night that I met Peter Dunsby, a full professor of gravitation and cosmology at the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town. 

Like many, I am in awe of the stars and when I find myself in a place far away from light pollution I can get lost in thought looking for satellites and shooting stars, but I have always felt overwhelmed by the size and complexity of space until I heard Peter speak, you can’t help but be pulled in by his knowledge and passion. 

With all the excitement about the Parade of Planets on the 3rd of June, I thought we should ask Peter for some advice. 

Parade of Planets

Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus are aligning overnight on 3 June.

Make sure you up an hour before sunrise and look east-southeast at a location with a very low horizon, the planets will line up across the sky, Saturn appearing at the top, followed by Neptune, then Mars, Uranus and Mercury, with Jupiter appearing closest to the horizon.

Mars and Saturn will be visible with the naked eye, while Neptune will only be visible through a pair of binoculars or a telescope if you are lucky. Jupiter, Venus and Uranus will be tricky to spot as they are close to the rising sun. 

Although there’s a lot of excitement about 3 June, astronomers say there are more exciting displays coming soon. For example, on the June 29, you’ll be able to see Saturn, the third-quarter moon, Mars, and Jupiter. 

Go follow Peter Dunsby on Instagram to be kept up to date and to see his impressive photography of planets, stars and galaxies. 

And if you miss the display on the 3rd June, don’t worry, it will be visible for a few more days. 

Blake brings a lot of energy, passion and heart into everything he does. He is extremely passionate about our country, it’s people and the environment. He is based in Cape Town and is happiest when he is running around exploring the beauty of the mountains.