Rare event – Jupiter and Saturn as close together as rarely

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People around the globe followed the “Great Conjunction” on Monday night, as the encounter between the two largest planets in our solar system is also known.

The best conditions for observing the planetary meeting were at the equator.

Reuters/Nasa/Bill Ingalls

In fact, the two planets were more than 730 million kilometers apart: Jupiter (left) and Saturn.  (December 21, 2020)
In fact, the two planets were more than 730 million kilometers apart: Jupiter (left) and Saturn. (December 21, 2020)

AFP / Yasser Al-Zayyat

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Jupiter and Saturn came closer to each other on Monday than extremely rarely. People around the globe gazed up at the sky to watch the meeting of the two largest planets in our solar system, which astronomers call the “great conjunction”. In fact, Jupiter and Saturn were more than 730 million kilometers apart. But viewed from the earth, it looked as if they had come very close.

The best conditions for observing the planetary meeting were at the equator. In western Europe, sky-gazers had to look up in a south-westerly direction to observe the phenomenon. The best time to observe the “conjunction” was 19:22 CET.

In the Indian metropolis of Kolkata, hundreds of amateur astronomers followed the spectacle through a telescope in a technology museum and from rooftops or open spaces. In Kuwait, planet fans moved into the desert to have a particularly good view of the sky phenomenon.

The “Great Conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn takes place around every 20 years – how close they appear from Earth is different.

As closely together as on this Tuesday – the day of the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere – they will only be seen again in 2080. Before that, it was in 1623 that Jupiter and Saturn appeared so close together from Earth’s perspective.

AFP / chk



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