Winter Solstice Great Conjunction: In collaboration with NASA, Google on Monday (December 21) showcased the winter solstice great conjunction in the Northern Hemisphere in a doodle.
On Monday, as the Northern Hemisphere marks the beginning of winter, we’re also being treated to a rare and spectacular sight in the sky: the great conjunction. The great conjunction is a visual overlap of Saturn and Jupiter, our solar system’s two biggest planets, in the night sky. The planets will nearly overlap to form a “double planet,” an event that hasn’t been easily visible since the Middle Ages — almost 800 years ago. The celestial phenomenon can be witnessed from anywhere around the globe!
“Based on their orbits, from our vantage point on Earth, Jupiter and Saturn will cross within .1 degrees of each other (a fraction of the width of the full moon), a once-in-a-lifetime rendezvous recreated in the Doodle artwork. But looks can be deceiving, as the two gas giants will actually remain a vast distance of approximately 450 million miles apart!” Google said.
According to NASA, this event will take place after approximately 400 years since the planets were this close to each other in the sky and almost 800 years after Jupiter and Saturn aligned in the night.
Here’s how to view the longest night of the year
Skywatchers need to find a spot that provides an unhindered view of the sky. Since Jupiter and Saturn are bright planets, they can also be sighted from cities. You need to look to the southwestern sky an hour after sunset.
Jupiter will be easily visible and look like a bright star whereas Saturn will appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter and will look slightly fainter. Jupiter will then overtake Saturn and both the planets will interchange positions in the sky.
An hour after sunset, Jupiter will look like a bright star amid sky ..
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