Winter Solstice Great Conjunction

New Delhi: winter solstice great conjunction Google on Monday celebrated the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the rare conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn with a doodle, in collaboration with Nasa. 

Northern Hemisphere

December 21 marks the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Still, in 2020 the longest night of the year will also be a witness to an incredible astronomic event known as the “great conjunction.”

 “As Earth’s Northern Hemisphere hunkers down for winter and its longest night of the year, it seems Jupiter and Saturn have decided to put on quite an unusual show for the world to see,” wrote Google.

Jupiter and Saturn

 The two most giant planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, will nearly overlap to form a “double planet,” an event that hasn’t been easily visible since the Middle Ages—almost 800 years ago.

Great Conjunction

 This rare double planet sighting–or “Great Conjunction”–can be viewed 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). 

This once-in-a-lifetime rendezvous has been recreated in the Doodle artwork, where we see an animated Saturn high-five Jupiter as it goes along its orbit. 

While the two planets will appear to be close, the two gas giants will remain a vast distance of approximately 450 million miles apart.

 If you are interested in watching the “Great Conjunction” on the longest night of the year, find a spot with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as a field or park. 

An hour after sunset, Jupiter will look like a bright star and be easily visible in the southwestern sky. Saturn will be slightly fainter and will appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter until December 21, when Jupiter will overtake it, and they will reverse positions in the sky. 

You can also use binoculars, but the planets can still be seen with the unaided eye. 

How to watch the great conjunction from India :

Delhi’s Nehru Planetarium has opened registration to view skywatchers who want to enjoy the great conjunction. 

Sticking by the Covid-19 guidelines, the planetarium also started the skywatch on December 20 to avoid crowding, as per the details available on the planetarium’s website. The skywatch will continue till December 22. 

Bengaluru’s Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium will also live stream the great conjunction on its YouTube channel and Facebook page.

 

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