Sunday, 07 March, 2021


The 'great conjunction' of Jupiter and Saturn: what to expect

Jupiter and Saturn Great Conjuction This is when and how you can see the rare 'Christmas Star' in South Africa
Kristine Garrett | 16 December, 2020, 07:09

"Whatever it was", McGuire said, "we can consider this the night sky's Christmas gift as a Band-Aid for 2020 this year". The last Great Conjunction wasn't so great.

Let's hope the weather cooperates that evening because if we miss this conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, we'll have quite a wait for the next one.

What is the Great Conjunction? .

Freeman explained, "It's completely an accident that these events are happening on the same day; the solstices relate to the tilt of Earth's axis, which is independent of the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn". However, this will be the closest that's actually observable for us on Earth since medieval times back in 1226!

Over the following nights the two stars will get closer together until they appear to become one.

Some will call it Christmas star, Others will refer to it as Great pairing For 2020.

A CHRISTMAS STAR is set to appear in the skies above Ireland in just a few days.

Jupiter and Saturn seen from Kampong Keriam on December 9.

At their closest, Saturn and Jupiter will only be one-fifth of a Full Moom apart.

The actual time of the Great Amalgamation of Stars may come in at 6.37pm on Monday 21st December but it may be possible to see them together from 15th December because these are large planets, they can be seen with the naked eye, even light polluted cities. The last time the phenomenon was visible from Earth (1226 AD), the medieval Kingdom of Mapungubwe was still thriving in the north of South Africa and Europe was in the Dark Ages.

The great conjunction will be visible nearly everywhere around the globe on Monday evening, and via the naked eye as well.

According to EarthSky, Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions are the rarest bright planet conjunctions, as Saturn is the farthest and slowest moving planet that we can easily see with the eye alone, while Jupiter is the second slowest bright planet. And if you're wondering where you're looking, folks in the southern hemisphere should peer towards the western horizon.

This image shows Jupiter - with four of its moons - and Saturn during the great conjunction on December 21 as seen through a pair of binoculars. "So, couple with the timing and the position in the solar system, it's going to be very impressive and this particular type of display has not been seen since Galileo was viewing Jupiter and Saturn in the first telescopes over 400 years ago". In fact, you might have your best view of these planets in a few days: on December 16 and 17 the moon will pass near the planetary pair. If you have a larger, astronomical pair of binoculars - like 20x80s - you should be able to detect the shape of Saturn, see some of Jupiter's markings and the four Galilean moons of Jupiter.

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