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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/EternalDarkness http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aligned_planets_ed_7925.jpg]]]]

->''"When the moon is in the seventh house\\
And Jupiter aligns with Mars\\
Then peace will guide the planets\\
And love will steer the stars"''
-->-- ''{{Hair}}'', "Age of Aquarius"

Something in the plot depends on some stars or planets lining up in a particular order at a certain time (an event known in astronomy as syzygy). Often doomsayers claim this will be the cause for TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, whether by breaking the tectonic plates, causing a shift of the poles, changing the Earth's rotation..., or introducing the EldritchAbomination.

When it overlaps with SignificantBirthDate, it can occur in the BackStory and still complicate the plot; this can produce TheChosenOne or the BigBad.

'''Compare with:'''
* CelestialDeadline: where you can ''use'' these sorts of events.
* TotalEclipseOfThePlot, a SubTrope which involves a solar eclipse.
* ViciousCycle, because these alignments tend to occur at regular intervals. Example: ''TheDarkCrystal'' (Great Conjunction of suns).
* ArtisticLicenseAstronomy: some examples fall into this category.

'''Contrast with:'''
* AYearAndADay, where the countdown is not to some specified event but is tied to the passage of a fixed length of time.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/SaintSeiya'': During the [[spoiler:Hades arc]] in which the 9 planets (remenber, back then Pluto was still consider a planet) will all align together and cause the [[TotalEclipseOfThePlot Greatest Eclipse]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* In ''Film/HighlanderTheSource,'' the ''entire galaxy''--every single celestial body from moons to planets to stars, and ''all of them in the solar system''--comes into alignment, all focused on Earth. Even non-scientists and children knew better, but that didn't stop the writers.
* ''Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' (2007): the portal opens when stars line up.
* ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'': the Titans can only be freed when the planets line up.
** Notably, it is only the further six planets (well, five planets [[AndZoidberg and Pluto]], but it was considered a main planet back then) which apply, as their alignment basically reveals the location of the Titans' prison and unlocks it, enabling Hades to free them.
* ''TheFinalConflict''. The alignment of three stars creates the second Star of Bethlehem, a sign of the Second Coming of Christ.
* ''Film/TombRaider''. A magic item that can be used to control time can only be accessed during a planetary alignment that occurs once every 5,000 years.
* ''Film/TheDarkCrystal'' involves a triple-sun alignment called the Great Conjunction.
* ''Film/TwoThousandTwelve'' vaguely waves at this, with the CriticalResearchFailure of another planet visible from Earth's orbit and Jupiter visible from Saturn, but apart from Woody Harrelson's free-associating [[ConspiracyTheory conspiracy theorist]], it doesn't come up again.
* In ''Film/TheScorpionKing'', the villain will allegedly become invincible when the Moon is in "the House of Scorpio".
* The ''MacGyverLostTreasureOfAtlantis'' TV-movie features this. For some reason, the planets are visible, to the point where they would actually collide with each other.
* ''PeeWeesBigAdventure'' - after his bike was stolen, Pee-wee has all his friends assemble in his basement as he manically pieces together clues to the crime - including planetary alignment.
* A major plot point of ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'' is the Convergence, an alignment of the Nine Realms that only happens once ever 5000 years, causing portals between the worlds to open at random. [[BigBad Malekith]] intends to use the Convergence to spread the Aether across the universe, [[OmnicidalManiac destroying everything]].
* Part of the AllThereInTheManual explanation for Elsa's powers in Disney/{{Frozen}} is this. According to WordOfGod, one child is born every 1,000 years with ice magic, and only when Saturn is in a certain alignment. This was going to be explained in the film itself but was cut.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''5/5/2000, ICE: The Ultimate Disaster'' claimed that on the title date a planetary alignment would cause catastrophic disaster on Earth.
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Farmer in the Sky'' featured a dramatic alignment of the moons of Jupiter which the protagonists watched from Ganymede.
* In [[Literature/KushielsLegacy Kushiel's Mercy]], the Carthaginians take advantage of an astrological event to put a spell on the entire city.
* One of the stories in StarTrekTheBraveAndTheBold involves a Bajoran prophecy suggesting Bajor will be at peace when all the planetís moons fully align. The bitter old terrorist Orta seeks to use a powerful artifact heís unearthed (created by SealedEvilInACan Malkus) to artificially move a moon and fulfil the prophecy early. Of course, he doesnít actually want peace - heís just using the prophecy as a ploy to start a conflict with the Federation.
* In the CthulhuMythos universe by Creator/HPLovecraft and others, there are many references to how the Great Old Ones will return "when the stars are right".
** Though it's never explicitly said what that entails. In fact an alternate interpretation at least in Cthulu's case is that it refers to the Elder-Things (who may or may not have been responsible for trapping Cthulu underwater to begin with) which are described as having star-like heads.
* One of the lesser {{Dragonlance}} novels featured a portentious lunar alignment between the white, red, and black moons of Krynn, known as the [[RedEyesTakeWarning "Night of the Eye"]].
* In Creator/JohnBrunner's ''The Traveller in Black'' series, the Traveller makes his periodic journeys when a certain array of four planets comes into alignment.
* Two alignments of the seven planets play a major role in the timing of the third book of the ''Literature/SeptimusHeap'' series.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheXFiles'' episode "Syzygy". An alignment of Mercury, Mars and Uranus may have something to do with several murder cases in a small town.
* Astronomer Sir PatrickMoore appeared on ''HaveIGotNewsForYou'' at a time when an impending alignment of the planets was being hyped in the tabloids as a catastrophe. Angus Deayton gave him pieces of fruit to represent the planets and kept referring back to the rumors, even though what Moore was demonstrating with the fruit was that absolutely nothing was going to happen.
-->'''Angus Deayton:''' This is the prediction that Jupiter and Saturn will align with Mars, Venus, and Mercury in the year 2000, which will cause flooding, earthquakes and tidal waves. The planetary alignment will cause gravitation forces from the Sun to...\\
'''Paul Merton:''' No, it won't! Patrick says it won't!\\
'''Ian Hislop:''' There isn't a lot of point getting an astronomer on if you're just going to read out a load of balls!\\
'''Paul Merton:''' Ian, the correct term is ''spheres''.
* On another occasion, Sir Patrick announced on radio that a rare alignment of the planets would temporarily reduce the Earth's gravitational pull, as people could discover by jumping up and down. Several listeners called in to confirm this, one man claiming that he had bumped his head on his ceiling. The fact that the broadcast went out on April Fool's Day seemed to have escaped their notice.
* The first half of ''Series/RescueSentaiGoGoFive'' had the Saima preparing for the planets to line up into the Grand Cross so they can bring back Grandienne. This carried over to their American counterparts in Series/PowerRangersLightspeedRescue. Like in Changeman that Harley Comet came, in August 1999 Grand Cross occured as well/
** In episode two of ''Series/TensouSentaiGoseiger'', Hyde is told the Gosei Angels can only return to their own world during a solar flare that occurs once every 200 years. Unfortunately, at that time they are fighting a MonsterOfTheWeek, and he decides to remain on earth instead to protect the earth with the others.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS14E1TheMasqueOfMandragora The Masque Of Mandragora]]", Hieronymous invokes this. He even appears to believe it.
** The series four finale ("The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End") had ''twenty-seven'' planets stolen from their home systems and placed in perfect alignment by the Daleks to create an engine to be used to amplify the "reality bomb" that would destroy every universe in all of reality.
* ''StarFleet'' has all the planets in Earth's solar system aligning at the end of the year 2999 for the dawn of a new millenium.
* TheSarahJaneAdventures took this trope UpToEleven with the Ancient Lights. Their master plan relied on ''every star in the universe'' entering into a very specific pattern.
* The ''Series/TinMan'' mini-series has the BigBad plan to use a {{Magitek}} machine to "freeze" the Outer Zone's two suns in a permanent position behind the moon, thus placing the OZ in perpetual darkness.
* Series/LandOfTheLost1991 had an episode where the animals were going mad due to the world's three moons aligning.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Religion and Mythology]]
* It has been suggested that the star which guided the Wise Men to {{Jesus}}' manger was not actually a star, but a particular astronomical alignment.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** Adventure "Sign of the Times" in generic AD&D2 supplement ''[[http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=9476 Treasure Maps]]''. [[ViciousCycle Every 700 years]] during a specific astrological conjunction of planets, moons and stars the king of a desert empire will fall ill and die, and his son will take his place. The new king will become evil and cruel, raising taxes and invading other countries. Natural disasters (famine, pestilence and drought) will ravage the land.
** ''Al-Qadim'' setting, in ''[[http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=5244 The Complete Sha'ir's Handbook]]'', has a Wizard kit "Astrologer", with a shade of MadScientist, who have to play with an orrery and may have up to 3 bonus spells discharged at will, but conditioned on visibility of one of 12 constellation.
** ''Violet Dawn'' setting has feat "Secrets 0f the Stars" in one tradition. It allows to predict a "propitious time" for some or other activity involving XP cost (i.e. item enchantment or casting powerful spells), sticking to which halves said cost.
* In ''{{Rifts}}'', [[ApocalypseHow The Great Cataclysm]] occurring during (and in part because of) a rare conjunction of the planets. It caused the {{Ley Line}}s to surge with power. This combined with a couple other factors upset the Earth's magical balance, causing [[AfterTheEnd The Coming of the Rifts]].
* In ''Franchise/YuGiOh'', this is referenced in two cards, Grand Convergence and the anime-exclusive Planet Alignment. The former destroys all monsters on the field, the latter just your opponent's, but both feature planetary alignments in their card art.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* ''Hair'' references the trope during the "Age of Aquarius" song: "When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars/then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Subverted in ''Videogame/CrashBandicoot2CortexStrikesBack''. Crash's goal is to gather Crystals so Cortex can use them to safeguard the world from a planetary alignment. [[spoiler:Of course, he's lying - the Crystals are actually to fuel a space weapon]].
* The aforementioned song from ''Hair'' is referenced in ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryII'', by the astrologer:
-->"When the moon is in the seventh house, and jupiter aligns with mars...then peace will guide our planet and love...? Naw, it'll never happen."
* ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou: ''[[InfinityPlusOneSword When six darklit darklit planets align...]]
* Pious Augustus of ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness'' is counting on the planets aligning to channel enough power to summon his Ancient into the mortal world. He's been waiting for two millenia for this event which of course is at the TurnOfTheMillennium.
* The Grand Cross planetary alignment is a major part of the plot of ''{{Persona 2}}: Innocent Sin''. In ''Eternal Punishment'', it's become a minor background element whose only significance is that absolutely nothing of note happened during it... [[spoiler: acting as an absolute confirmation that the events of the prior game never came to pass in this timeline.]]
* ''VideoGame/MasterOfMagic'' has astrological conditions -- Conjunctions, Good Moon and Bad Moon -- that enhance one type of power sources and diminish others. These are really {{random event}}s, though, i.e. have unpredictable start and end times.
* In Psygnosis' ''Lander'', a conjunction of all [[ScienceMarchesOn nine]] planets in our system allows space tourists the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit all the planets in a single cruise.
* A [[LimitBreak Miracle attack]] in ''VideoGame/AnimalKaiser'' called "Aligned Planets". Apparently, when this happens, all of them smash into Earth and destroy it in a cutscene... and the opponent animal takes heavy dammage, [[SlapOnTheWristNuke with Earth no worse for the wear]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* WapsiSquare: You know what happens in 2012 when the Mayan calender runs out? GroundhogDayLoop!
* ''Webcomic/EerieCuties'' has [[http://www.eeriecuties.com/d/20090713.html a vampire born]] on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (a.k.a. Easter) who [[VegetarianVampire does not drink blood]].
* ''Webcomic/DorkTower'' [[http://www.dorktower.com/2006/06/23/comics-archive-799/ lovecraft is]]
* In ''Webcomic/CucumberQuest'', [[http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/archive/page-189/ the Nightmare Knight returns every 5,000 years.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'' episode "Born to Spawn." Filbert's breed of turtle has a mating season that occurs when all the planets are in alignment, and is hypnotically irresistable. In the end, Heifer has a similar problem starting when all the ''fast food restaurants'' go into alignment.
** Don't think too hard about the Heifer thing, given that he's a steer.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' it's said that Trigon could only arrive on Earth when the planets align. We don't actually get to ''see'' any planetary alignments, but there is a freaky eclipse going on simultaneously.
* Major plot points of the nine-month storyline of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' include [[spoiler: the solstices, a solar eclipse, a (man-made) lunar eclipse, and a comet with a 100-year cycle]].
** ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'': every 10,000 years, the planets align in what is known as the "Harmonic Convergence"; on that day the spirits [[LightIsGood Raava]] and [[DarkIsEvil Vaatu]] do battle to decide the fate of the world, and while neither one can permanently kill the other [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt it's a very bad thing for everyone if Vaatu wins]]. During the previous Convergence, the first Avatar, Wan, [[spoiler:[[FusionDance merged with Raava]] and [[SealedEvilInACan sealed Vaatu in a tree]]]]. The next Convergence is on Korra's watch.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', [[BigBad Nightmare Moon]] is said to return on the longest day of the thousandth year, when the stars will aid in her [[SealedEvilInACan escape]].
* In ''[[TMNT2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]'' (2003), the underground city's crystal technology is recharged completely with the coming of the planetary alignment, which allows the city's inhabitants to revive themselves.
* A [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRS6At3JDBw teaser]] for the second season of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' ties such a prophecy with [[spoiler:the awakening of Unicron]]:
-->'''Optimus Prime:''' And it was written in the Covenant of Primus that when the forty-seven spheres align, a perpetual conflict will culminate upon a world forged from chaos; and the weak shall perish in the shadow of a rising darkness.
** Somewhat [[HandWave Hand Waved]] by the fact that gravitational forces from those planets were somehow acting on [[EldritchAbomination Unicron]], causing him to [[SealedEvilInACan wake up]].
* According to the introductory narration, the reincarnation of WesternAnimation/CountDuckula may occur by means of a secret rite that can only be performed once a century during one of these alignments.
* ''WesternAnimation/CampLazlo'': Small children depend on the allignment to gain maturity to watch horror movies. It's supposed to occur everytime someone reaches puberty but it seems to have missed Mr. Lumpus.
* ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'': On the day the planets aligned, [[EldritchAbomination Mala Mala Jong]] [[AllYourPowersCombined reforms]] and then uses [[MesACrowd the Ring of Nine Dragons]] to split into four beings collectively called the Fearsome Four. Luckily, this reveals a new Shen Gong Wu artifact to defeat him, the Emperor Scorpion, which lets him be controlled.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MuchaLucha: The Return of El Malefico'', El Malefico Can only be set free when this happens. If he's not put back by the time they come out of alignment, he becomes unstoppable.
* ''ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated'' had a story arc leading to an alignment of the planets with a Planet X, which was inhabited by what was believed to be the first recorded history of gods. At that point, the curse of that timeframe, Nibiru, would be released and ravage the earth.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' episode "The Picnic", a planetary alignment once a millennium brings forth a transdimensional creature who will grant one wish to whoever is present. Lord Hater and Emperor Awesome fight over the spot where the creature will appear and wish to be ruler of the universe, while Wander is there just to watch the alignment. In the end, Lord Hater gets the wish, [[spoiler:but wastes it on wishing that Wander leave him alone for five seconds.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower'', there was an attempt to kidnap Prince Adam from Eternia by using a mirror which can open portals. The problem is, it only works when the two moons (two for each planet, that is) are aligned. The attempt is successful, but when Hordak later orders to use it when the moons aren't aligned, it turns out to be a really bad idea.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Voyager 2's trajectory took it past Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, due to a planetary alignment that only occurs once every two or three centuries.
* ''The Jupiter Effect'' was a 1974 book that predicted that a planetary alignment on March 10, 1982 would have disastrous effects on Earth. (It didn't.)
* On roughly December 21 every year, Earth, the Sun, and the galactic center line up (almost: the galactic centre (Sagittarius A*) is seven degrees away from the ecliptic). Some people, not realizing it happens every year, [[ApocalypseDayPlanner predict this will have dire consequences]] in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon a specific year]].
* The small asteroid [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99942_Apophis Apophis]] will approach Earth in 2029. If it passed through a "keyhole" (a certain set of trajectories) it would hit Earth in 2036. (Later observations showed it won't.)
* The "Jovian-Plutonian Gravitational Effect" hoax of 1976 by the British astronomer Patrick Moore. The guy stated to radio listeners that an alignment of Jupiter and Pluto on 9.40 am, April 1, 1976, will noticeably reduce gravity on Earth. Many believed.
* The phrase "when the stars are right," along with its variants, is sometimes used to refer to necessary conditions which are difficult to arrange or cannot be readily determined, especially referring to computer use or programming.
[[/folder]]
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