Fairly stupid title, but I know that the astronomical terminology for this sort of thing can get pretty specific.
I was just watching BBC stargazing live, and Brian Cox had a model of the Solar System with all the planets in a line on one side of the Sun, and jokingly said that this would happen in 2012, before hastening to remind the viewers that it was a joke.
But I've always wondered, how long would it take for all 8 of the planets to form a line on one side of the Sun? I know that simultaneous transits of Venus and Mercury only happen once about every 2-300,000 years, so I imagine the timespan for a full lineup of the usual suspects must be pretty vast. Could it happen in the lifetime of the Sun? Or at least before the planets are ripped from their orbits?