By NASA // December 20, 2020
800 years after this alignment of Saturn and the planet
(NASA) – Skywatchers are coming for year-end treatment. Known as the “Christmas Star”, it is a particularly vibrant planetary system that is easily visible in the evening sky over the next two weeks as the bright planets Jupiter and Saturn come together, on the night of December 21. Ends.
In 1610, the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope at the night sky, discovering Jupiter’s four moons – Io, Europa, Guinema and Callisto.
That same year, Galileo discovered a strange ovary around Saturn, which he later observed to be a ring. These discoveries have changed how people perceive the distances of our solar system.
Thirteen years later, in 1623, the two largest planets in the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, crossed the sky together. Jupiter captured and passed Saturn, known as the “Great Coincidence,” in an astronomical program.
“You can imagine that the solar system is in the form of a sterilization, each planet has a runner in its own lane and the earth towards the center of the stadium,” said Henry Throop, an astronomer at the Department of Home Science at NASA headquarters in Washington. Henry Thrup, an astronomer at NASA’s Department of Homeland Security, said. .
“From our point of instability, we will be able to see the planet in the inner lane, move closer to Saturn all month and finally overtake it on December 21.”
The planets appear to pass through each other in the solar system on a regular basis, once every 20 years the planets and Saturn coincide in the sky.
Why make this year’s show so rare, then? It’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed close to each other in the sky, and Saturn and Jupiter coincided at night, after which it will be in 2020, affecting almost everyone around the world. Will look “great”. Addition. “
The closest consistency will be one-tenth of a degree apart and will last for a few days. On the 21st, they will appear so close that a pink finger at arm’s length will easily cover both planets in the sky.
Only after the sun sets will the planets be able to easily look southwest with the help of the planet.
From our point of instability on Earth, giant gas giants will gather, but they will remain in space millions of miles away.
And while this is happening on the same day as the winter solstice, time is just a coincidence based on the rotation of the planet and the tilt of the earth.
“Such combinations can happen any day of the year, depending on where the planets are,” Thrup said.
“The date of conjunction is determined by the places around the Sun of the planet, Saturn and the Earth, while the date of solitude is determined by the inclination of the Earth’s axis. Salary is the longest night of the year, so this rare coincidence will give people a great opportunity to go out and see the solar system. ”
Want to learn when and where to look? Join the group as he talks about the “great coincidence” on #NassScienceLive Thursday, December 17th. Submit your questions using #AskNASA.
The NASA Science Live episode will air live on NASA’s television and agency website on Thursday at 3 p.m. EST with NASA’s Facebook, YouTube and Periscope channels.
For those who want to see this phenomenon for themselves, here’s what to do:
Find unobstructed views of the sky, such as a farm or park. Jupiter and Saturn are bright, so they can be seen from most cities.
Sun One hour after sunset, look to the southwest sky. Jupiter will look like a bright star and will be easily visible. Saturn will be slightly obscured and will appear slightly upwards and to the left of Jupiter until December 21, when Jupiter will overtake it and they will see the opposite position in the sky.