A Great Conjunction


The approach of Mars is so over.

For the next two months, Saturn and Jupiter will take centre stage in the night sky, drawing closer to earth and appearing closer together. To wit:

…in mid-December, a Great Conjunction will occur — when the two planets will appear only 0.1 degrees apart — just one fifth the angular diameter of the full Moon. And this isn’t just any Great ConjunctionSaturn (left) and Jupiter (right) haven’t been this close since 1623, and won’t be nearly this close again until 2080. This celestial event is quite easy to see — already the two planets are easily visible toward the southwest just after sunset — and already they are remarkably close. Pictured, the astrophotographer and partner eyed the planetary duo above the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Three Peaks of Lavaredo) in the Italian Alps about two weeks ago.

(Image: Giorgia Hofer)


4 thoughts on “A Great Conjunction

  1. Harry

    Please keep up the excellent astronomy posts, they are very enjoyable. Mars (weather permitting) is still highly visible, easy to see in the night sky with its strong reddish/orange colour. I’m looking forward to the forthcoming conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter too.

  2. Slightly Bemused

    I just had to laugh, which brought about two shocked stares. Nothing new about that, other than this time it was only two. But in my defense, it was their own fault.
    I was outside, leaning against the car looking up ad admiring the beauty of Mars (Jupiter and Saturn were not quite in view yet. They like to turn up fashionably late. Or leave early, telling everyone that this was the worst party!)
    While the three try to lure the eye, Neptune and Uranus to their best in the slow dance to decide who can take longest to wander around the sun. Neptune is currently winning that one, but Pluto is not to be outdone. Theoretically visible, and perhaps a little miffed at no longer being called a planet, she saunters round, not yet having completed a turn around the Sun since we first noted her position.
    But the best bit was two runners, suitably dressed with reflective apparel, and headlamps ran past. I could only think of the tandem bicycle from Men In Black. One declaimed to the other: What I want to o before I die…
    And they were out of earshot. I may never know.
    But Mars is beautiful, and if you are south enough you may see Antares, the other bright red dot in the heavens.

    1. Janet, dreams of warm feet

      Managed to spot Mars for the first time there ! You get a lovely feeling of insignificance, very peaceful :)

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