Here's what makes today's Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn so special

According to NASA, this is the first time in nearly 400 years, that Jupiter and Saturn have been this close to one another.

Published: 21st December 2020 10:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st December 2020 10:59 AM   |  A+A-

The Great Conjuction

It is a rare phenomenon that the world will witness on December 21. (Photo | NASA)

By Online Desk

Something special is in the sky for all skywatchers and this is very well shown in today's Google Doodle.

Depicting the 'Great Conjunction' and coincidently the winter solstice as well, the doodle marks the visual overlap of planets Saturn and Jupiter in the night sky. It is a rare phenomenon that the world is set to witness on December 21.

Popularly known as the 'Christmas Star', the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter is easily visible in the evening sky over the next two weeks, says NASA

The planets regularly appear to pass each other in the solar system, with the positions of Jupiter and Saturn being aligned in the sky about once every 20 years. 

However, this is the first time in 800 years that the alignment will occur at night.

According to NASA, this is also the first time in nearly 400 years that the two planets have been so close to one another.

In India, the 'Great Conjunction' can be witnessed on Monday December 21 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Here is what you can do to see the phenomenon:

  • Find a spot with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as a field or park
  • An hour after sunset, look to the southwestern sky
  • Jupiter will look like a bright star and be easily visible
  • Saturn will be slightly fainter and will appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter until December 21
  • The planets can be seen with the unaided eye
  • But if you have binoculars or a small telescope, you may be able to see Jupiter’s four large moons orbiting the giant planet

(Inputs from NASA)


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