Found in the sky: Jupiter and Saturn to coincide on today night
The two planets Jupiter and Saturn will look like a single star on today night, while in actuality they will be at a distance of 735 million km.
On Monday, December 21st i.e, today the two huge planets of Jupiter and Saturn will be seen close to each other during the night. The sky watchers will be able to see a rare celestial event of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. The planets will look extremely close to each other as over one another making them look like a bright speckle in the sky.
How can we see this phenomenon?
This rare event can be witnessed from everywhere over the world without the usage of any unique gadgets. In case you already got a pair of binoculars or have a small telescope, you may get an even better view of the occurrence or could be lucky to detect Jupiter’s moons.
When were these planets last seen close to each other?
The last time these two planets were seen so close to each other on July 16, 1623. At that time i.e. 397 years ago, they were at a distance of 5 arc minutes. Before that, the two planets Jupiter and Saturn were seen these close together in medieval times, in 1226.
Thus, the coming together of Saturn and Jupiter on today will begin a two-hundred-year epoch known as the Age of Air.
When will these planets be again seen close?
The next time these two huge gas planets will come closer on March 15, 2080. That means you can see a similar phenomenon after approx a gap of 60 years.
“You can imagine the solar system to be a racetrack, with each of the planets as a runner in their own lane and the Earth toward the centre of the stadium,” said Henry Throop, an astronomer in the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington in a release. “From our vantage point, we’ll be able to see Jupiter on the inside lane, approaching Saturn all month and finally overtaking it on December 21.”
Today is also the winter solstice day in the northern hemisphere. Therefore, it will be the longest night of the year.