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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction as it happened: People glimpse ‘Christmas Star’ across the world

Winter Solstice Jupiter-Saturn great conjunction: On Winter Solstice, the two planets will come close to the extent that they will be separated by just one-tenth of a degree in a phenomenon called the Christmas Star. 

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 22, 2020 1:42:47 am
Jupiter Saturn conjunction, Jupiter Saturn great conjunction, what is great conjunction, Jupiter Saturn conjunction date, saturn jupiter conjunction, indian expressA graphic representation of how the two planets will appear to be one heavenly body.

Winter Solstice Jupiter-Saturn great conjunction: People across India and the rest of the world witnessed a rare celestial phenomenon, the great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. The celestial event made Jupiter and Saturn appear as one bright star in the night sky. The event is visible to the naked eye as well, though those with a telescope would have enjoyed a better view.

This is the first time in over 400 years that the two appeared so close to each other, though regular conjunctions take place every 20 years. This is the closest these two planets have been recorded since 1623. That Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn took place more than a decade after the telescope was invented. Before 1623, the Great Conjunction took place in 1226.

The “great conjunction” is popularly referred to as the “Christmas Star.” On December 21, almost all the viewers across the world were able to see the two gas giants very close to each other, while they were still hundreds of millions of miles apart in space.

Live Blog

Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction Live Updates: Great Conjunction is visible in India now

01:42 (IST)22 Dec 2020
Check out what NASA and Google Doodles have to say on the Great Conjunction

"Look out at the night sky Eyes Seeing double? Don't worry, you're not alone!" Google Doodles tweeted. 

23:34 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Kolkata: Hundreds of sky gazers assemble at Birla museum

Hundreds of sky gazers assembled at the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum in Kolkata as the leading science museum made arrangements to view the conjunction at the south-western part of the sky through a telescope, a BITM spokesman said. People gathered to watch the phenomenon, which took place after about 400 years, on rooftops and open grounds in different parts of Kolkata and West Bengal though the winter fog partially hindered the view. PTI

23:08 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Visuals of people watching the 'Christmas Star' in Pune

Enthusiasts queue up to watch The Great conjunction (Jupiter-Saturn) at Kesari wada in Pune.

Express Photos by Arul Horizon



21:16 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Visuals from around the world

A statue of a Kansa Indian atop the Kansas Statehouse stands in the foreground as Saturn, top, and Jupiter, below, are seen in Topeka, Kansas. (AP)
Saturn, in the upper left, follows Jupiter, then the moon, as the trio sets behind the steeple of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on Wednesday night, Dec. 16, 2020, in Columbia. (AP)

21:03 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction: Another stunning image

Check out this imag of the Great Conjunction taken in Iraq

21:02 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Jupiter Saturn Great Conjunction: Check out this video from Reuters
20:49 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction: NASA has some tips for taking pictures

If you are planning to take pictures of the Saturn and Jupiter great conjunction, NASA has a few tips and tricks:

NASA says that the planets are visible in the early evening. One has about 1-2 hours from when they are visible. So keep that in mind.

If you are planning to set up your DSLR, get your tripod ready. This will help with taking longer exposures. NASA says if you don’t have a tripod, brace your camera against something such as a tree, a fence, or a car. This is to keep the camera steady and ensure that the exposure is long enough to ensure a good image. 

NASA also says that the crescent Moon will pass near Jupiter and Saturn. One can take advantage of it when composing your picture. 

For those relying on a smartphone, NASA says that the ‘night mode,’ which will automatically stabilize a long-exposure is a good bet. This can be great for capturing the dark foreground of your photo, according to NASA. Further, if you have a tripod, your phone might extend the exposure in Night Mod for longer for a better shot. 

NASA also recommends trying out the wide-angle lens on your smartphone to get the picture. Try using this to place a subject in the foreground, with Jupiter and Saturn above them, recommends NASA. 

20:10 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Jupiter, Saturn merging in night sky, closest in centuries

Jupiter and Saturn will merge in the night sky Monday, appearing closer to one another than they have since Galileo’s time in the 17th century. Astronomers say so-called conjunctions between the two largest planets in our solar system aren't particularly rare. Jupiter passes its neighbor Saturn in their respective laps around the sun every 20 years.But the one coming up is especially close: Jupiter and Saturn will be just one-tenth of a degree apart from our perspective or about one-fifth the width of a full moon.

They should be easily visible around the world a little after sunset, weather permitting.Toss in the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest night of the year — and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere — and this just-in-time-for-Christmas spectacle promises to be one of the greatest of Great Conjunctions. (AP)

19:55 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Today is also Winter Solstice

The event will coincide with the winter solstice (shortest day of the year in terms of hours of sunlight received) in the Northern Hemisphere and summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. 

19:51 (IST)21 Dec 2020
People across India spot the Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction
19:15 (IST)21 Dec 2020
A clearer view

Four moons of Jupiter are also visible when observed via a telescope

18:52 (IST)21 Dec 2020
People share photos of the event
18:49 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction: Which direction should you look at?

NASA says the two planets will appear closer low in the southwest in the hour after sunset. So look towards the southwest direction if you want to see Jupiter and Saturn come close to each other. Remember though they only appear this close to us here on Earth. They remain hundreds of millions of miles apart in space. 

18:45 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction: NASA's tips on how to watch the event live

NASA has some tips on how to watch the event, though if you are living in a city you might face difficulty given the light pollution.

1) NASA says find a spot with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as a field or park. Jupiter and Saturn are bright, so they can be seen even from most cities, according to the US space agency. 

2) NASA says that 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, when Jupiter will overtake it and they will reverse positions in the sky.

3) 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, says NASA. 

18:39 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction: When did this last happen?

The last time Jupiter and Saturn appeared so close to each was in the year 1623. Before that it would have been in 1226. Astronomers say this is a once in a lifetime event. 

18:38 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction: Why is this such a big deal?

This is the first time in over 400 years that Jupiter and Saturn are coming so close to each other, and will appear as one planet in the sky. To catch a proper glimpse binoculars won't be enough. In fact, they will appear so close to each other in the sky that some might see them as one object. If you have a small telescope, you will see Jupiter and Saturn in the same field of view, which is very rare. Jupiter and Saturn appear to meet up every 20 years in the sky, but this is the first time in over four centuries they appear so close. 

18:34 (IST)21 Dec 2020
Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction: Today is also the Winter Solstice

Today is also the winter solstice this year. This is when the Sun appears the lowest in the Northern Hemisphere sky and is at its farthest southern point over Earth – directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. It is the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere. But hey the conjunction has nothing to do with the Winter Solstice. This is just a coincidence.  

18:28 (IST)21 Dec 2020
What to expect from Jupiter-Saturn great conjunction?

"We are going to witness an even today which took place in 1623 and is going to take place again in 2080. If we are lucky and able to witness it, it is a very rare phenomenon. It is a good thing that we got together to witness this. It will take over Jupiter but it will appear today as if it is touching it... From the last three or four months, it has been at the east and slowly gaining on Jupiter. The distance between Saturn and Jupiter will be less than the two edges of the moon," an astronomer in Mumbai said. 

A conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn is called a great conjunction. The two planets will be about 0.1 degrees or 06’06” (six minutes and six seconds) arc from each other. For comparison, the angle between the two sides of the moon is 0.5 degrees. This is the second closest conjunction of the two giants since the invention of the telescope in 1609. On 16 July, 1623, the two planets were 5’10” from each other.