Sky Gazers’ Delight – The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

The sky is a captivating space! Inclusive of the conventional atmospheric layers we’ve been taught about our entire lives, it’s also the portal to outer space, and thus, has an enigma to it.

A laid-back gaze at the twinkling stars, embedded like jewels in the depth of the dome above, and the glimmering moon that casts blurred silhouettes against a pale night sky, can vanquish the demons we constantly fight with, within the chambers of our soul.

Sounds dreamy, right? But, it isn’t just wordplay!

A staggering conjunction of the two largest planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, which is caused by them aligning with the Earth in their respective orbits, will transpire on the upcoming solstice, on December 21. The summer and winter solstices occur annually, when the Sun’s apparent path is farthest north or south from the Earth’s Equator.

With the sun setting at 5 p.m. every day for months now, nights can seem exceptionally long. However, the solstice, in the northern hemisphere, will mark the year’s longest night and the year’s colossal celestial event.

This event has been named, ‘The Great Conjunction’, as it occurs once in a blue moon, in comparison with other conjunctions.

It’ll indeed be a remarkable event in history, as the two planets will close in on each other, till they’re just 0.1 degrees apart, straight after 1623. However, even in 1623, its location obscured people from viewing it.

The last visible conjunction was thus, noted in 1226, the Middle Ages.

As it’s the winter solstice, it’ll be tough to view these ‘then-conjoined’ planets, from farther north. Sky watchers, thus, would have to take a quick look, as the planets will set shortly after the sunset, as stated by NASA.

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This astronomical event will be visible to the unaided eye, and using a telescope, people will even be able so see some of the moons of Jupiter.

Since the two planets will appear the brightest in the sky, that day, even some phone and DSLR cameras will detect them smoothly.

The fact that they seem in such close proximity to each other, and yet are miles apart, is incredible!

The observations and interpretations relating to this event, will surely inspire artists, such as the photographers, philosophers, stargazers, etcetera.

The two planets might appear as a single bright star, and owing to a Biblical story and approaching Christmas, it’s also called the ‘Christmas Star’.

Flickering starlight and in this case, ‘planet light’, accompanied with Christmas trees and merry carols, lighting up the snow laden streets, will certainly be a sight to behold.

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