NASA shares image of how the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter looked like from Moon
NASA shares image of how the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter looked like from Moon
Representational Image/ NASA

Jupiter and Saturn merged in the night sky on Monday, appearing closer to one another than they have since Galileo's time in the 17th century.

Astronomers say so-called conjunctions between the two largest planets in our solar system aren't particularly rare. Jupiter passes its neighbour Saturn in their respective laps around the sun every 20 years.

But this one was especially close: Jupiter and Saturn inched closer to each other, one-tenth of a degree apart from our perspective, or about one-fifth the width of a full moon.

The celestial event, experts said, should be easily visible around the world a little after sunset, weather permitting.

Toss in the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest night of the year - and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere - and this just-in-time-for-Christmas spectacle set out to be one of the greatest of Great Conjunctions.

As envisaged, space enthusiasts and skywatchers all over the world looked to the night sky to witness the great celestial event, as Twitter was flooded with images of the same.

Meanwhile, American space agency NASA also shared pictures of the Great Conjunction:

Despite appearances, Jupiter and Saturn were actually more than 450 million miles (730 million kilometres) apart. Earth, meanwhile, is currently 550 million miles (890 million kilometres) from Jupiter.

Their next super-close pairing will occur on March 15, 2080.

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