The universe has a Christmas surprise in store for astronomers, the Science Alert portal writes. Jupiter and Saturn are closest to each other in the night sky 800 years.
This is a planetary synchronization that started sometime in the summer. The pair of planets are constantly approaching each other and the peak of this approach will last from December 16-25. Of course, the planets will not be physically close to each other, but from our point of view they will appear as a point of bright light in the night sky.
“It is a relatively rare phenomenon. The synchronizations of Jupiter and Saturn occur every 20 years, but this year will be an exceptional event that takes place once every 800 years,” says astronomer Patrick Hartigan.
A unique phenomenon
At the same time, Hartigan argues that if we wanted to observe the approach of two planets in the sky more closely, we should move to 1226. This phenomenon is best perceived by humans, live in the equator. In clear skies it could be seen all over the world.
According to astronomers, the planets will appear in the sky about an hour after sunset. If you have a telescope at home, look at the western part of the sky. At the time of the nearest approach, 21st of December the planets appear as a binary system in the night sky. Those who have a telescope at home can also see the largest moons of both planets.
As mentioned above, a similar phenomenon was last seen on Earth in the Middle Ages. The good news is that we can expect more in 2080, but a similar alignment of the planets will not take place until 2400. At the same time, astronomers warn that the further north you are from the equator, the less time you will need to observe the phenomenon.
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