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Fwd: Planets Gather on May 5 and May 17, 2000

Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2008 09:52:15 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Fwd: Planets Gather on May 5 and May 17, 2000
To: swnet.sci.astro,alt.astronomy

01 May 2000 17:01:00
Subject: Planets Gather on May 5 and May 17, 2000
To: sci.astro

Forwarded from John Mosley (

Planets Gather on May 5 and May 17, 2000

Griffith Observatory press release

All five naked-eye planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and
Saturn) plus the moon gather around the sun on May 5 in a relatively
compact grouping. The same planets and the sun (but not the moon)
form an even more compact grouping twelve days later on May 17.
Although unusual from a statistical standpoint, the planetary
gatherings cannot be seen and will have no effect on the earth.

The planets are always in motion, and from time to time one passes
another or several gather into a compact grouping. Because the sun is
part of these particular groupings, the planets cannot be seen in
May, and the main feature is the novelty of the event. The planets
were last this close in February, 1962, and they will not be this
close again until the year 2675.

Some sensationalist writers and talk-show guests claim that planetary
groupings have an effect on the earth through tidal or "unknown"
forces and that such groupings trigger disasters on earth. The tidal
forces are well understood and are negligible, and the earth has a
history of surviving planetary alignments unscathed. Previous
planetary groupings in 1962, 1982, and 1988 - all of which were
accompanied by predictions of doom and gloom - had no effect

Planetary gatherings is the topic of the current planetarium show,
"Cosmic Catastrophe." The show evaluates the claim that planetary
alignments cause disasters, shows how the planets move around the
sky, looks at the alignments in May, and concludes with a preview of
a future planetary alignment we will be able to see. "Cosmic
Catastrophe" is presented daily except Mondays through May 21.

For information on Griffith Observatory programs and activities,
including planetarium show times, please call (323) 664-1191 for a
recorded message or visit the web site at

For additional information on events in the sky, call the
Observatory's Sky Report at (323) 663-8171, or visit the Sky
Information page of the Observatory's web site at (this page contains color
graphics of the planetary groupings).

For a detailed analysis of May's planetary grouping, read "Planetary
Alignments in 2000" by John Mosley at

Griffith Observatory Griffith phone: (323) 664-1181
2800 East Observatory Road Griffith fax: (323) 663-4323
Los Angeles, California 90027 USA

From: (Ron Baalke)
Subject: Planets Gather on May 5 and May 17, 2000
Date: 1 May 2000 16:01 UT
Organization: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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Distribution: world
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16:03:14 GMT)
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Xref: sci.astro:193078 alt.sci.planetary:20342