Nepal | January 15, 2021

Great conjunction 2020 happening on December 21

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KATHMANDU: A special and rare astronomical event is heading our way, slated to take place this December solstice – The Great Conjunction 2020.

Towards the end of 2020, two big planets, Jupiter and Saturn, will appear closer to our eyes. If we look towards the southwest 45 minutes after sunset tonight (and every night this month), the pair will appear noticeably closer.

Pictured, the astrophotographer and partner eyed the planetary duo above the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Three Peaks of Lavaredo) in the Italian Alps in November 2020. Image Credit & Copyright: Giorgia Hofer via NASA

A conjunction is a meeting of planets or other objects on our sky’s dome. The Great Conjunction is therefore, a meeting of the two biggest worlds in our solar system – Jupiter and Saturn.

This is a once-in-a 20-years conjunction which fell on December 21 this year. It is more special as these heavenly bodies will only be 0.1 degrees apart, as per earthsky.org.

Though the last great conjunction occurred in 2000, these bodies weren’t this close since 1623, which was during the Galileo’s time.

NASA would call this great conjunction 2020 the “greatest great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn” because it won’t appear this close for the next 60 years, until 2080 March 15.

For a beautiful view, look towards the Southwest sky after sunset on December 16 and 17, when Jupiter and Saturn will be joined by a thin Crescent Moon.

A screenshot from timeanddate.com shows Jupiter and Saturn very close to each other by the side of the Moon on December 17 at 17:50. 

Compiled by Kriti Joshi


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