Infinite Wishes 🏳️‍⚧️🚀

Is a weblog by Emma Humphries

20 Dec 2020 » Saturn and Jupiter in conjunction

A photo of Saturn and Jupiter in conjunction
Credit: Photo by the author

Updated with better photo.

Because of the periodicity of their orbits and their great distances from our Sun the close conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn are not once-in-lifetime, but once-in-centuries events. Since these happen roughly 800 years apart’, they were considered to be linked to the end of ages and empires.

Since this summer, when Saturn and Jupiter started rising in the night sky after sunset, I’ve watched them close their apparent distance: they are still millions of miles apart.

This past Monday was the closest point of the conjunction, and I’ve been out with my telescopes and marveling that I can see both of these giant worlds in the eyepiece this week.

Sunday night I attached my camera to the back of my big telescope and took photos while the two worlds, which are low in the sky at dusk, were still visible. This is a single frame, and I am shooting horizontally through the evening sky which puts a lot of dust and air between my telescope and space, so it’s blurry.

To see the conjunction look towards the West at dusk during Christmas week. A pair of binoculars will be enough to resolve both planets as separate disks, with the point-like dots of the Galilean moons and Titan if you’re in a dark enough sky.

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