An event not seen in nearly 800 years is set to light up the sky next week.
NASA says that the two largest planets in the solar system will come together “in one big union” for Christmas. It is the same day as the winter solstice.
Known as the “Poinsettia” is a particularly vivid planetary conjunction that will be clearly visible in the evening sky for the next two weeks, with the brightest planets Jupiter and Saturn coming together and ending the night of December 21, “the NASA website said.
On Monday, Jupiter and Saturn Space.com will be closer and closer together. Like the other bright planets, the two planets rarely merge.
Jim Todd, director of space science education at OMSI, said those in the Portland area would love to go out on Thursdays and Saturdays after sunset at 4:30 p.m. when the sky is low. The planets will settle below the horizon quickly, Todd said, so a good view of the southwest horizon is essential and people need to look up at the sky in time to capture it.
The weather in Portland 70-80% chance of rain and mostly cloudy Monday with no forecast.
NASA says for those who want to see this event within themselves, do the following:
- Find a place with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as a field or park. Jupiter and Saturn are bright, so they can be seen from most cities as well.
- Look up at the southwest sky an hour after sunset. Jupiter looks like a bright star and is easily visible. Saturn will be a little darker and appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter until Jupiter overtakes it on December 21st and changes position in the sky.
- The planets can be seen with a helpless eye, but if you have a telescope or a small telescope you can see the four large moons of Jupiter orbiting the huge planet.
The two planets merge more than every 20 years, but they are not always the same. Monday, July 1623, the closest Jupiter-Saturn connection will be when the two planets appear a little closer. However, it is almost impossible to see this link because it is so close to the sun.
When Genghis Khan conquered Asia, the two planets merged in March 1226. Monday’s link is the next link.
Saturn is a small, dark bubble in the upper right of a very bright Jupiter. Despite their origins, Jupiter and Saturn are actually 730 million kilometers apart. Meanwhile, the earth will be 890 million kilometers from Jupiter.
“On the 21st, they will appear very close, and a pink finger at arm’s length will slightly obscure both planets in the sky,” NASA said. “If you look southwest after sunset, the planets are easier to see with the naked eye.”
NASA says the best way to get a glimpse of a rare event is to see it an hour after sunset. The planets are visible to the naked eye.
“Jupiter looks like a bright star and is easily visible,” said NASA. “Saturn will be a little darker and appear slightly above Jupiter and to the left of Jupiter by December 21st. Jupiter will overtake it and they will change their position in the sky.”
The next time they approach this in our heaven, it will not be 60 years, so this will be a once in a lifetime event for many. In fact, this year they finally reached 1623. But because they appear so close to the sun, it is very difficult to see them if not possible. Go back another 400 years 1226 This would have been the last time we would have seen this kind of connection better.
What advice would you give people who want to see the best link?
If you have a pair of telescopes, you can easily find both planets. Even with a small telescope, you would see both planets at the same time, which is really unknown. This is what makes this merger so rare.
If the weather permits the tire lab, a direct connection stream is established from one of the lab’s telescopes.
Throw in the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, the longest night of the year – and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere – and this timeline for the Christmas scene promises to be one of the greatest of the great conjunctions.
“Very rare is a close connection that occurs in our night sky,” said David Weintraub, professor of astronomy at the University of Vanderbilt. “I think it’s fair to say that such an event can only happen once in a person’s life, and I think ‘once in a lifetime’ is a good test of whether a qualification is classified as rare or special.”
Your next super close merger: March 15, 2080.
– Kansas City Star, The Associated Press, The Conversation