Jupiter and Saturn will look like a double planet just for Christmas

So there are some things we can expect in the last month of 2020.

On the night of December 21, the winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn align so closely in our sky that it will look like a double planet. This close approach is called a conjunction.
“Coordination between the two planets is quite rare, occurring about once every 20 years, but this connection is exceptionally rare due to how close the planets are to each other.” resolution.

“On March 4, 1226, before dawn, he must go back all the way to a closer alignment between the objects seen in the night sky.”

If you’re an observatory, you’ve probably noticed that Jupiter and Saturn have been getting closer together since the summer. And right now they are visible in our night sky and getting closer and closer to each other.

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But between December 16th and 25th, they will be even friendlier. During this time, look for the Jupiter-Saturn bond low in the western sky for about an hour every night after sunset.

“On the evening of the next approach, December 21, they will look like a double planet separated by only 1/5 of the diameter of the full moon,” Hartigan said. “For most telescope viewers, all the planets and several of their largest moons will be visible in the same field of view that evening.”

While these two planets may seem close, NASA says they are still hundreds of millions of miles apart.

I hope it will be a clear sky because the togetherness will be visible worldwide, with the perspective that suits it best. near the Equator.

“The farther the viewer looks, the less time it takes to see the conjunction before the planets sink below the horizon,” Hartigan said.

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The planets will be bright enough to be viewed in dim light. This may be the best time for many American viewers to observe the coexistence.

“By the time the sky is completely dark in Houston, for example, the team will be only 9 degrees above the horizon,” Hartigan said. “Viewing would be manageable if the weather cooperates and if there are unobstructed views to the southwest.”

If you’re in New York or London, or at these latitudes, try noticing the conjunction after sunset. If you wait an hour after the sun sets, the planets will only get closer to the horizon, making them harder to spot.

The best conditions for viewing the astronomical event include a clear southwestern horizon and a cloud that is far from low, Hartigan said. Binoculars or telescopes can help differentiate between planets. A telescope allows you to view the rings of Saturn and the brightest moon on both planets, he said.

If you miss this coexistence and want to see the planets with the same closeness, only higher in the sky, it will only happen on March 15, 2080 – and then only after 2400.

Between 0 and 3,000, that is, between the Common Era, there were or will be only seven conjunctions — and two of them were too close to the sun to not be seen without binoculars, Hartigan says. So, yes, this is an incredibly rare event.