If you are a fan of astronomy and an amateur observing celestial bodies, beware of missing the rare “great conjunction” that will happen between the two planets Saturn and Jupiter tonight on Monday evening December 21, 2020, especially since the two gas giants have not come close to each other for nearly 8 centuries.
Learn more with us about this rare astronomical phenomenon and how to observe it tonight
What is a great pairing?
The great conjunction is one of the unusual astronomical phenomena, as we, the inhabitants of the Earth, can see, on the night of this phenomenon, that both Saturn and Jupiter are close to the point of merging, despite the existence of hundreds of millions of kilometers separating them in reality
Knowing that the rapprochement between the two planets had started months ago, but it reached its climax on Monday, December 21, 2020, and it gives us the impression that the two planets have united and become one celestial body
Why does Google celebrate it?
It is natural for Google to celebrate this phenomenon because it is simply a rare phenomenon, as nearly 800 years have passed since the occurrence of great conjunction in this way between Saturn and Jupiter, according to what was reported on the Nasa website.
Skywatchers, you're in for a once-in-a-lifetime treat! Jupiter & Saturn are doing a planetary dance that will result in the Great Conjunction on Dec 21, just after sunset. Find out:
🤩 When and where to look up
📷 How to photograph the conjunction
— NASA (@NASA) December 20, 2020
Also, in a purely astronomical coincidence, the timing of the great conjunction in 2020 coincides with the night of the winter solstice, which is considered the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere
How can I see the Great Pair?
To enjoy this rare scene, you only have to go to the balcony or garden of your home, holding small binoculars looking towards the southwest, and after sunset, and specifically at 18:22 GMT, the two giant gas planets will appear in your field of vision
The two planets will be visible to the naked eye, with Saturn being slightly fainter than its companion, and will appear above and to the left of Jupiter.
And if you own binoculars or a small telescope, you will be able to see the two equatorial belts of Jupiter and its main moons, with Saturn’s rings in one frame.
Wallpaper on the conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, and the third celestial body to shine after the moon and Venus, as it appears in white with a clear brightness in the night sky
As for Saturn, it is the second-largest planet in the solar system after Jupiter, and it is less bright than it and tends to be yellow
Jupiter completes its orbit around the sun every 12 years, while Saturn’s orbit around the sun takes nearly 29 years, and because of the difference in their rotation, the two gaseous planets only converge every about 20 years
Even when the two planets converge, they are at different distances, for example, the last conjunction between the two planets was in 2000, but they did not converge with each other as would happen tonight, as Jupiter has not approached Saturn to this point for nearly 8 centuries, as we have already mentioned.