An event not seen for nearly 800 years will illuminate the sky next week.
NASA said that the two largest planets in the Solar System would make a great coincidence just in time for Christmas. It is also the winter solstice day.
Known popularly as the “Christmas Star”, a particularly vibrant planetary assemblage is readily visible in the evening sky over the next two weeks as the bright planets Jupiter and Saturn come together on December 21. The night ends, ”NASA said on its website.
According to Space.com, Jupiter and Saturn will be closer to each other and closer to each other on Monday. The two planets rarely come together as do other bright planets.
Jim Todd, director of astronomy education at OMSI, said people in the Portland area want to go out after sunset at 4:30 in the afternoon, when Jupiter and Saturn will be low in the sky. Planets will quickly set below the horizon, Todd said, so a good view of the southwest horizon is required, and people will need to look up at the sky over time to capture it.
The weather in Portland does not appear to be 70–80% rain and mostly in line with Monday’s forecast.
NASA says, for those who want to see this event for themselves, here’s what to do:
- Find a place with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as an area or park. Jupiter and Saturn are bright, so they can also be seen from most cities.
- One hour after sunset, look at the southwest sky. Jupiter will look like a bright star and easily visible. Saturn will be slightly faster and will appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter until December 21, when Jupiter will overtake it and they will reverse the position in the sky.
- The planets can be seen without eyes, but if you have a telescope or a small telescope, you may be able to see the four big moons of Jupiter, orbiting the giant planet.
The two planets meet every 20 years, but they are not always the same. Monday will be the closest Jupiter-Saturn pair since July 1623, when both planets appeared slightly closer. This coincidence was almost impossible, however, due to its proximity to the Sun.
In fairly close and plain view, there was a March 1226 combination of the two planets – when Genghis Khan was conquering Asia. Monday’s combination will be the closest coupling that has been coming back ever since.
Saturn will be a small, faint blob on the upper right of the more luminous Jupiter. Despite appearances, Jupiter and Saturn would actually exceed 450 million miles (730 million kilometers). Meanwhile, the Earth will be 550 million miles (890 million kilometers) away from Jupiter.
“On the 21st, they would appear so close that a pink finger at arm’s length would easily cover both planets in the sky,” NASA said. “Looking southwest just after sunset, it would be easy to see planets without eyes.”
According to NASA, the best way to catch a glimpse of the rare event is approximately one hour after sunset. The planets are visible with the naked eye.
NASA said, “Jupiter will appear like a bright star and easily visible.” “Saturn will faint a bit and will appear slightly up and to the left of Jupiter until December 21, when Jupiter will overtake it and they will reverse the position in the sky.”
The next time they close it together in our sky will not happen for the next 60 years, so it is a lifetime event for many. In fact, they got together for the last time in 1623, but it was really difficult, if not impossible, to see them as they appeared so close to the Sun and set off shortly thereafter. Go back another 12 years to 1226 and this will be the last time we have seen a good idea about this type of combination.
What advice would you give to those who want to see great combinations?
If you have a pair of binoculars, you will be able to see both planets easily. In a small telescope, you will see both planets in the same area at the same time, which is virtually unheard of. This is what makes this combination so rare.
If weather is allowed at the Dyer Observatory, there will be a live stream of assemblage from one of the observatory’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 just-for-time Christmas spectacle promises to be one of the great combinations.
David Weintraub of Wonderbilt University, an astronomer professor said, “The rarest that occurs is in the night sky.” “I think it’s fair to say that this kind of event can usually happen just once in a person’s lifetime, and I think ‘once in my lifetime’ is a very good test of whether Some properties are being labeled as rare or special. “
Their next super-pass pair: March 15, 2080.
– Kansas City Star, The Associated Press, The Conversation