Great Conjunction 2020: Jupiter, Saturn meet to last till Christmas; all you need to know about this spectacle

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December 23, 2020 5:24 PM

The Great Conjunction which has created a huge excitement for sky watchers is expected to last till Christmas. The pairing between Jupiter and Saturn was seen on December 21 and is expected to continue for this week.

The next two conjunctions are set to take place in 2040 and 2060, but viewing them will not be as easy as it is now.

The Great Conjunction which has created a huge excitement for sky watchers is expected to last till Christmas. The pairing between Jupiter and Saturn was seen on December 21 and is expected to continue for this week. The close pass between the two planets is nothing less than a spectacle and it is a delight for those who love watching constellations and sky. It is to note that conjunction is a pairing between any two planets and since Jupiter and Saturn are the two biggest planets visible to the naked eye in the solar system, their conjunction has been termed as ‘Great Conjunction’. The interesting part is that these two planets align approximately after 20 years, thus making the phenomenon relatively rare.

To be sure, it takes 12 years for Jupiter to complete its orbit around the Sun and 30 years for Saturn.

What makes this conjunction special is the alignment of the planets. When looked at the position of planets on Earth’s orbital plane, the two seem to be aligned in a conjunction. This means that they both are casting the same angle from the referred direction. Jupiter and Saturn, when seen from Earth, can be seen a tenth of a degree apart. Some views may see them converging into one. However, a majority of viewers across countries said that they could tell them apart.

The rarity of this conjunction that can be viewed from Earth can be viewed in terms with the last Great Conjunction that took place in 1623. This, according to a report by The IE, was when Chhatrapati Shivaji was about to be borned and Jahangir was ruling the Mughal empire in India. Prior to this, the conjunction was viewed in 1226 one year after the death of the Mongol ruler Genghis Khan.

Meanwhile, the spectacle is expected to continue for this week till December 25. On December 21, Jupiter was seen overtaking Saturn when viewed from Earth. While the planets seem close, both of them are over 700 million kilometres apart. Also, their distance between each other is smaller than what it usually is during other conjunctions.

The next two conjunctions are set to take place in 2040 and 2060, but viewing them will not be as easy as it is now. The next conjuncture (this big) is likely to take place on March 15, 2080.

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