Jupiter-Saturn great conjunction on December 21, Google celebrates with a doodle

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In the hour or so after nightfall, first Jupiter will appear in the western sky, and then Saturn, both shining dots distinguishable from the stars by the fact they do not twinkle.

The event, called the "Great Conjuncture" will occur on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. "There'll be a dimmer light and that'll be Saturn... and if you watch every night they appear to get a little bit closer and little bit closer until December 21st".

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Even if you missed Jupiter and Saturn at their closest alignment on Monday, over the next few days the planets may still be visible at twilight. The two biggest planets in our solar system Jupiter and Saturn appeared closer to one another in 367 (1623) years on Monday since the Galileo's time in the 17th century.

"Big telescopes don't help that much, modest binoculars are flawless, and even the eyeball is okay for seeing that they are right together", Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, wrote in an email to Reuters. This year, like in 1226 AD, the phenomenon is not near the Sun, so people could actually witness the Christmas star.

Unfortunately, the historic view turned out to be somewhat obscured by weather conditions and clouds across some parts of South Africa.

At the point of convergence, Jupiter and Saturn appeared to be just one-tenth of a degree apart, roughly equivalent to the thickness of a dime held at arm's length. It will be visible to the naked eye as well.

Officially, what is happening with the two planets is called a "great conjunction" ("great" because they are the two largest gas giants in our solar system).

A view of the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn over the sky in New York City, United States on December 21, 2020.

The conjunction over L'Aquila, Italy, on 21 December.

But in some parts of the world the conjunction lined up with natural features and landmarks that made for better photos.


The conjunction over the sails of Brill windmill in England.

The month of December has hosted several celestial events, and two of them are occurring collectively on December 21.



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