Jupiter-Saturn great conjunction on December 21: How to watch in India

In India, the conjunction is likely to be visible between 6.30 and 7.30 pm.
In this photo, Saturn is at the top and Jupiter is below. But the position will reverse on December 21 though they will appear as one big star.((Nasa))
In this photo, Saturn is at the top and Jupiter is below. But the position will reverse on December 21 though they will appear as one big star.((Nasa))
Updated on Dec 21, 2020 08:18 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh

On Monday, Jupiter and Saturn will come closest to each other in what is being called the great conjunction as the celestial marvel was last observed in 1623 and will again take place in 2080. The two slow-moving planets will be 0.1 degrees apart.

Here is all you need to know about it:

1. According to Nasa, the timing of the conjunction will be such that everyone will be able to view it.

2. They will appear so close that a pinkie finger at arm’s length will easily cover both the planets in the sky.

3. If one views through a telescope, Jupiter’s four large moons orbiting the planet can also be seen.

4. It will be visible nearly an hour after sunset in the southwestern sky.

This is how the great conjunction will look on December 21 (Photo: Nasa)
This is how the great conjunction will look on December 21 (Photo: Nasa)

5. In India, the conjunction is likely to be visible between 6.30pm and 7.30pm.

Jupiter, Saturn merging in night sky, closest in centuries

6. Nehru Planetarium in Delhi (https://nehruplanetarium.org/) has also opened registration for the viewing of the conjunction. Adhering to Covid-19 guidelines, it has started the skywatch from December 20 to avoid crowding, its website said. This will go on till December 22. In addition, there will be webcasting.

Bengaluru’s Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium has said it will live stream the viewing of the great conjunction on YouTube and Facebook channel (https://www.taralaya.org/) if weather permits.

7. Why is the conjunction being called Christmas star? Though the planets will be apart, they will appear as one big star, like what is believed to be Christmas star or the Star of Bethlehem, which appeared in the eastern sky when Jesus Christ was born. The Book of Matthew mentions this star which according to the Bible led the three wise men to Jerusalem.

8. The conjunction will also coincide with the December solstice, the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and longest in the southern.

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Sunday, January 23, 2022