An event not seen for nearly 800 years will light up the sky next week.
NASA says the two largest planets in the solar system will come together “in one big connection” at Christmas. It is the same day as the winter solstice.
Known as the “Christmas Star” is a particularly vibrant planetary conjunction that will be easily visible in the evening sky over the next two weeks, with the brightest planets Jupiter and Saturn coming together and ending the night of December 21, “NASA said on its website.
On Monday, Jupiter and Saturn will be closer and closer to each other together Space.com. Like the other bright planets, the two planets rarely merge.
Jim Todd, Director of Space Science Education at OMSI, Those in the Portland area said Would love to go out on Thursdays and Saturdays after sunset at 4:30 pm when the sky is low. The planets will quickly set below the horizon, Todd said, so a good view of the southwest horizon is essential, and people need to look up at the sky just in time to catch it.
The Weather in Portland 70-80% chance of rain and mostly cloudy Monday with no forecast.
NASA says, for those who want to see this event within themselves, here’s what to do:
- Find a place with an unobstructed view of the sky like a field or park. Jupiter and Saturn are bright, so they are also seen from most cities.
- An hour after sunset, look at the southwest sky. Jupiter looks like a bright star and is easily visible. Saturn will be slightly dimmer, appearing slightly above and to the left of Jupiter until December 21, when Jupiter will overtake it and they will change positions in the sky.
- The planets can be seen with a helpless eye, but if you have a telescope or a small telescope you can see the four big moons of Jupiter orbiting the giant planet.
The merging of the two planets occurs more than every 20 years, but they are not always the same. Monday, July 1623 will be the closest Jupiter-Saturn link, when the two planets appeared slightly closer. However, it is almost impossible to see this link because it is so close to the sun.
When Genghis Khan conquered Asia, in March 1226 there was a merger of the two planets. Monday’s link will be the closest link.
Saturn is a small, dim bubble in the upper right of a very bright Jupiter. Despite the origins, Jupiter and Saturn are actually 450 million miles (730 million kilometers) apart. Earth, meanwhile, will be 550 million miles (890 million kilometers) from Jupiter.
“On the 21st, they will appear very close, and a pink finger at arm’s length will easily obscure both planets in the sky,” NASA said. “By looking southwest after sunset the planets will be easier to see with the naked eye.”
NASA says the best way to catch a glimpse of a rare event is to watch it an hour after sunset. The planets are visible to the naked eye.
“Jupiter looks like a bright star and is easily visible,” NASA said. “Saturn will be slightly dimmer, appearing slightly above Jupiter and to the left of Jupiter until December 21. Jupiter will overtake it and they will change positions in the sky.”
The next time they approach this in our sky it will not be 60 years yet, so this will be a once in a lifetime event for many. In fact, they finally got this close year 1623, But because they appear so close to the sun it is very difficult to see them, if not possible. Go back another 400 years 1226 This would have been the last time we would have had a better view of this type of connection.
What advice would you give to people who want to see the best link?
If you have a pair of telescopes, you can easily find both planets. Even with a small telescope, you would see both planets at the same time at the same time, which is really unheard of. This is what makes this merger so rare.
If the weather permits Tire Laboratory, There will be a direct stream of connection from one of the laboratory’s telescopes.
Toss in the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest night of the year – and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere – and this timeline for the Christmas scene promises to be one of the biggest of the Great Conjunctions.
“Very rare is a close connection that occurs in our night sky,” said David Weintraub, a professor of astronomy at the University of Vanderbilt. “I think it’s fair to say that such an event can only happen once in a person’s lifetime, and I think ‘once in a lifetime’ is a good test of whether any qualification is labeled as rare or special.”
Their next super-close merger: March 15, 2080.
– Kansas City Star, The Associated Press, The Conversation