Remsheet At the beginning of the week, the approach of the two major planets Jupiter and Saturn can be seen in the sky. Peter Stolson of the Rimsheet Astronomical Society says that such an event only happens once every 20 years.
The pre-Christmas sky has something special to offer this year: the two largest planets in our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, have a great connection to each other when viewed from Earth.
Next Monday, December 21 (5 p.m. CET), just in time for the winter solstice, the two gas giants will reach a state of close approach. The apparent distance between two planets, with the naked eye, is no more than the diameter of a 1-cent coin seen from a distance of ten meters. The two planets will then appear as one.
As Peter Stolson of the Remsheet Astronomical Society explains, such a connection occurs every 20 years. The so-called triple fusion is very rare, with Jupiter and Saturn approaching three times in a short period of time. “Such an event was last observed in 1980/81 and will not be seen again until 2239. Some astronomers believe that such an apparent approach in the year seven BC was responsible for the then indescribable event of the star of Bethlehem.”
This year’s simple fusion is even more special because the planets are not approaching as often as they are now. Jupiter and Saturn were close in the last few days of the Middle Ages. Their actual distance is approx. 330 million kilometers, the distance between the earth and the sun is twice as long. This patch is best 15 minutes after sunset. After a while, at 6.30pm, the two giants disappear back to the horizon. So the time window for visitors is very short.
In addition, a cloudless view of the southwest horizon in the direction of the Aquarius galaxy is essential. An environment with little light is recommended for better monitoring. So you have to be a little lucky to see the rare sky view. However, if it is successful, the larger and brighter moons of the two planets can be seen with a telescope (10 x 50): Europe, Io, Canmeet, Titan.
Incidentally, Peter Stolson recommends the following settings for photographers who want to take a picture of the link: 400 ASA, 50mm lens, aperture 2/8, exposure time four seconds. “So you can take a perfect photo of the link with a clear view,” says Peter Stolson.
He will experience the close-up between Thursday and Saturday at Rimsheet Labs on Monday. “Unfortunately, we’ve not allowed the audience in,” Peter apologizes to Stolson – adding: “I’ll be back next time.” It will be October 31, 2040.