• The Great Conjunction of 2020: A Rare Cosmic Gift

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    • Keywords


      Jupiter, Saturn, conjunction, plan­ets, astronomy.

    • Abstract


      On 21 December 2020, the world witnessed a rare celestial rendezvous when Jupiter and Saturn came together in a 'great conjunction'. The event is popular as the 'Christmas Star'. A conjunction is not unique to Saturn and Jupiter. Every 20 years or so, they align (i.e., are in conjunction), and during these years, these planets make a beautiful pair in the sky. Their relative motions during the conjunction year are fun to watch and provide an excellent way to learn about planetary motion. Saturn and Jupiter are the largest of the five planets visible to the unaided eye in the night sky. Hence, their con­junction is called the 'great conjunction'. In the night sky, Jupiter is particularly bright, appearing as a brilliant point of white light, while Saturn is a fainter dull white object, as bright as a typical bright star. On 21 December 2020, dur­ing the great conjunction, Jupiter shone at a magnitude of -1.97, while Saturn was far less bright at a magnitude of +0.63. The great conjunction of 2020 coincided with the winter sol­stice (shortest day of the year in terms of hours of sunlight received) of the Northern Hemisphere.

    • Author Affiliations


      Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay1

      1. District Science Officer District Science Centre North Lake Road P.O.+ Dist.Purulia West Bengal 723 101, India.
    • Dates


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