Planets and Saturn have been closely aligned for 800 years

25 Novembre, 2020, 22:11 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • How the Jupiter Saturn conjunction will appear to telescope viewers

Jupiter and Saturn will come closer to each other in the Earth's night sky than they have for nearly a millennium between December 16 and 25 in an extremely rare astronomical extravaganza.

This winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn will fascinate the night sky once more! The distance between them will be much less that it has been from the last 800 years.

Researchers have pointed out that after sunset on December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer together in the night sky than they have been since the Middle Ages, appearing to be a double planet, they mentioned that they have never seen for many years.

The next time Saturn and Jupiter will align will be in March 2080. "On the morning of March 4, 1226, you must return to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky". Image adapted by Open Source Planet Software Stellarium Graphics.

'Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, ' said astronomer Patrick Hartigan of Rice University of Houston, Texas.

"On the evening of closest approach on December 21, they will look like a double planet, separated by only 1/5th the diameter of the full moon", said Hartigan. Hardigan said the planetary twins appear to be low in the western sky about an hour after sunset each evening.

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Those with proper telescopes can view not only both of the planets but many of their larger moons.

Jupiter and Saturn should be visible to anyone on Earth as long as the weather is not too cloudy and allows an unrestricted view at the incredible event.

After that, it will not happen again until sometime after the year 2400!

The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand shared photographs of the "smiling moon" and announced that Jupiter and Saturn will be at their closest in 397 years in December. The planets will be brilliantly shining in the sky to be observable in sundown, which may be the best a ideal timing to attempt to see them if you are residing in the US.

'Viewing that would be manageable if the weather cooperates and you have an unobstructed view to the southwest'.

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