With so much happening in 2020, there is another surprising celestial event in the list. The last and most prominent celestial event of the year 2020 is happening as Jupiter and Saturn align in a way that they will appear as one bright star in the night sky on December 21, Monday.
Jupiter and Saturn:
The two planets of our solar system will come close to the point that they will be separated by just one-tenth of a degree is a great and amazing occurrence.
Last time it occurred:
The last time the two planets were closer almost four centuries ago. On July 16, 1623, the two planets were 5’10” (five minutes 10 seconds) from each other compared to 6’06” of arc on December 21.
The year is becoming more than ordinary as there are only more instances where Jupiter and Saturn have come nearly as close as what we will witness this year. We have to wait for 2080 to get this event happening.
The event is taking place on the shortest day of the year, in the Northern Hemisphere and longest in the Southern.
The planets will appear as one big star, like the biblical Christmas star or the Star of Bethlehem, which appeared in the eastern sky when Jesus Christ was born.
Also Read: Google endears a delightful doodle to highlight the rare sighting of the “Great Conjunction”
Henry Throop astronomer in the Planetary Science Division at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters in Washington said: “Conjunctions like this could happen on any day of the year, depending on where the planets are in their orbits.”
The positions of Jupiter, Saturn and Earth and their orbits around the Sun had made the astronomers decide the positions, while the date of the solstice is determined by the tilt of Earth’s axis.
If not knowing then, the solstice is the longest night of the year, so this rare coincidence will give people a great chance to go outside and see the solar system.
How to watch Jupiter and Saturn conjunction:
This event is far away from and yet one does not need to have special equipment as it will be visible to the naked eye. Just wait for the sun to set and find an obstructed view of the sky and then look towards the southwest direction. To be able to view properly, make sure that the place you choose does not have too much light around.
Date: December 21, 2020
Time: 6:30pm-7:30pm, during the sunset