-By Rohan Purohit

Space geeks and astronomical enthusiast all over the world had great fun enjoying the so-called great winter solstice Jupiter Saturn conjecture. This was the first time in 400 years that the two largest worlds of our solar system have come close to each other. Also referred to as the Christmas star this event was visible clearly through naked eyes, some people also had a closer look through the telescope in many parts of India.

People in many parts to India also missed this beauty due to the high amount of fog in the atmosphere which was blocking the vision of the viewers.

There was a huge crowd gathered at Birla Industrial and technological museum in Kolkata as the museum had arranged instruments to witness the phenomenal view.

Astronauts and cosmologists use the word conjecture to describe an event where two or more planets or astronomical objects appear meeting in the skydome. Still, they are very far from each other if we take in terms of the light-year (i.e.734000 million km)

For the first time in 400 years, the two giants have come close. Talking about the conjecture it happens in every 20 years. Last time this happened in 2000 but the planets were never this close. Last time in 1623 was the year where these planets came so close, this was the time when the telescope was just invented so people were just getting to know about space and the cosmos.

Jupiter is the largest and brightest planet in the whole solar system and Saturn is the second biggest planet but is a bit din as compared to Jupiter. As they are planets these gas giants only glow, unlike the stars that twinkle.

Talking about the time of this event it was seen from 630 pm to 730 pm in India yesterday. Just about an hour after the sun went down.

In November when the moon went past them they were just about three degrees apart from each other.

Image caption:  Astronomer Alessandro Marchini and his team at the Osservatorio Astronomico Università di Siena created this graphic to explain it. Alessandro wrote: “Here we put an actual photo from last night, December 17, 2020. Underneath we replicated it by adding a red circle corresponding to the apparent circumference of the moon. We then copied the same circle right to show you that yesterday the 2 planets were inside a circle the size of the moon. In the bottom boxes, we put Jupiter and Saturn’s position simulation from December 17 to December 21, the day of the conjunction, inside the red circle to compare their distance to the diameter of the moon. The 2 planets will be closer and closer in the next few nights, and on December 21, their distance will be minimal: Jupiter and Saturn will therefore be very close, at a distance equal to a fifth of the lunar diameter!” 

Talking about the planets, Saturn is the farthest and the slowest moving planet in the solar system that we can see in the naked eyes alone. Jupiter the 5th planets outward from the sun are also slow but the brightest and can be seen easily with the naked eyes. And around the time of the conjecture from November 21, Jupiter travelled about 6 degrees and Saturn travelled about 3 degrees. And finally, on the conjecture day, they were 3 feet apart from each other.

This event was seen more clearly than the previous one that occurred in 2000 because they were near the sun the last time. For which their brightness became camouflaged resulting in a very faded view.

For all those that have missed the fun, these are the dates of the 21st century these dates will have/already had Saturn Jupiter conjunctions.

May 28, 2000

December 21, 2020

October 31, 2040

April 7, 2060

March 15, 2080

September 18, 2100

Stay tuned stay curious.



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