Witness the Great Conjunction for the first time in 800 years!3 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our solar system, are giving us an early Christmas gift! On the day of the winter solstice, December 21, stretch out your arm and hold out your pinkie finger. You can cover both Jupiter and Saturn with it. This is because of a rare event called the Great Conjunction, where the planets will appear so close that they look like a double planet!
What are we talking about? Let’s give you a quick recap on the history of this event and why it’s happening.
The first major discovery of Jupiter and Saturn occurred when Galileo Galilei, a very famous astronomer, looked at the night sky through his telescope in 1610 and noticed these two planets. About 13 years later, in 1623, Jupiter was behind Saturn but soon passed Saturn.
Isn’t Jupiter already in front of Saturn?
Well, in fact, due to a combination of Jupiter’s and Saturn’s orbit and Earth’s tilt on its axis, Jupiter seems like it is behind Saturn. On the last ‘Great Conjunction’, 800 years ago, Jupiter passed Saturn.
Now it’s happening again! For the first time in 800 years, the ‘Great Conjunction’ will occur at night, and for the first time in 400 years, the planets will be this close!
How do I view the Great Conjunction?
On December 21, just after sunset, look to the southwest horizon. To get the best view, try to find a place where it is dark nearby with little light pollution. This will allow you to see it clearly.
In fact, you don’t even have to wait for Monday. Look at the sky every evening until the day and you will find the planets getting progressively closer each time! Isn’t that amazing?
Here’s a quick look at how to spot the planets when you’re preparing to stargaze.
You can also watch the live stream of this event here:
We at Owliver are very excited about this event. All the stargazers will have their eyes on the night sky on December 21! Tell us if you saw it in the comments below.
Build with Owliver
If you’d like to witness this event, the first thing you’re going to need is a telescope! Well, look no further, because you can build one yourself at home. Go here for detailed instructions on how to do this.
Or watch this simple video.
Rishi is a 7th grader and basketball fan. He has a sports YouTube channel with 50 subscribers and aspires to make it 1M someday. He likes watching space launches, reading about building rockets.
Image sourced from NASA