Published: Sat, December 26, 2020
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Google Doodle depicts conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

Google Doodle depicts conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

The planets Saturn and Jupiter will appear to be a bright, single star in the early evening hours Monday, December 21.

During this event, Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our solar system, seem very close to each other, as if they were superimposed to form a double planet.

The event dubbed "Above and Beyond" was organised by the Survey Department under the Ministry of Development to raise awareness on astronomy and view Jupiter and Saturn after the great conjunction on December 21 when Saturn and Jupiter appeared closest to each other. "The date of the conjunction is determined by the positions of Jupiter, Saturn, and the Earth in their paths around the Sun, while the date of the solstice is determined by the tilt of Earth's axis".

With the astronomical event known as a "Great Conjunction" taking place at night, almost everyone around the world will be able to see it. In our perspective, the two giant planets appear only a tenth of a degree apart, when in reality they are about 450 million miles apart.

This shortest day of the year will put on a big show. Now, while Jupiter and Saturn may have looked like one glowing orb to the naked eye, with the detailed view of the NAC, you can clearly resolve the individual planets.

NASA says the conjuntion taking place on the winter solstice is merely a coincidence, based on the orbits of the planets and the tilt of the Earth. Jupiter and Saturn are bright, so they can be seen even from most cities. People all around the globe watched and photographed the planets, which looked nearly like a single, bright "star" in the sky. In fact, the image provides so much detail that you can even faintly see Saturn's rings. We can also see four moons of Saturn and three of Jupiter.

Want to learn more about planetary conjunctions?

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