Stargazers must make sure not to miss this great conjunction
Skywatchers and space enthusiasts are in for an early Christmas treat as they, along with the rest of the world will get to see Saturn, Jupiter and the moon make a triangle in the sky on December 21 in a phenomenon known as the ‘great conjunction.’
The planetary positions
Currently, the two planets are hanging low in the southwest as dusk appears. At the start of this month, they were isolated by 2.1 degrees. As the days progressed, they continually got drawn to each other by 0.1 degrees every day and by Monday night (21st), we will get to see the triangle formation due to a frontal area waxing bow moon.
Henry Throop, space expert in the Planetary Science Division at NASA headquarters said that from the Earth’s position, we get to see the planets moving through their course and will be seeing Jupiter slowly going towards Saturn and finally overwhelming it on December 21.
The two planets routinely pass one another in the close planetary system, yet why is this occurence seen as such a phenomenon? Well, it’s because the last time the planets came this close to one another was a few centuries ago, 800 years to be precise. The last conjunction was on March 4, 1226. It’s expected that on 21st the planets will come so close, they will only have a pinky finger gap, from where we stand. The planets will be easily visible in the sky without needing any telescope.
For seeing it, look towards the southwest at around 6 p.m. They will be easy to identify and will stay in that spot till 7:30 p.m. but keep in mind that they may appear to move further apart due to the moon illusion.