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Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter: A rare "Winter Star" will form tomorrow
NASA explains this phenomenon as something particular to the perspective of the skygazers on Earth.
It is a once in several centuries event! The 2020 ‘Great Conjunction’ of Saturn and Jupiter is the closest these planets will appear in the sky since 1623. That was, incidentally, the year just after Galileo first observed them with his telescope.
NASA explains this phenomenon as something particular to the perspective of the skygazers on Earth. Great conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn happen every 20 years, making the planets appear to be close to one another. This closeness occurs because Jupiter orbits the Sun every 12 years, while Saturn's orbit takes 30 years, causing Jupiter to catch up to Saturn every couple of decades as viewed from Earth.
Against the backdrop of an unprecedented global pandemic, at 1:20 PM EST on December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will unite, forming the “Great Conjunction” (or “Great Mutation”) at 0º Aquarius. This coming together of the two gas giants will kick off a totally new two-hundred-year epoch known as the Age of Air.
This rare conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter is easy to see without special equipment and can be photographed easily on DSLR cameras and many cell phone cameras.
Realising the enthusiasm of people to witness and capture such a happening for posterity and research, NASA has shared a few tips that will come in handy for you if you are photographing the sky during December.
Here are some tips from the experts. Head to a park or field where you can get a clear view of the sky an hour after sunset, and look towards the southwestern sky. Jupiter will appear like a sparkling, unblinking star, even amid bright city lights. The slightly fainter Saturn will be visible towards Jupiter's east for those in the Northern Hemisphere and west for those in the Southern Hemisphere. Though no special equipment is needed, using binoculars or a small telescope will enable you to see Saturn's famous rings and Jupiter's four large moons!