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From: Phys-l [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Anthony
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2020 6:37 PM
Subject: [Phys-L] Great Conjunction
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! I posted this at my school, and
thought I'd share it with the group. I'm getting my telescope ready!
Astronomy is FAR OUT!
Mark your calendar! On December 21 Jupiter and Saturn will appear extremely
close in the sky and will look like a double planet! They will be separated by
only 0.1° - about 1/5 the diameter of the full Moon! It may be challenging to
distinguish them with unaided eyes for some people. In reality the planets will
be much farther apart - 4.8 times the distance between the Sun and Earth.
Jupiter-Saturn pairings/conjunctions are rare (occur about every 20 years), but
they have not been this close in the sky since the Middle Ages (specifically, on
March 4, 1226)!
Look in the southwest skies just after sunset. The planets are low in the sky
and will only be visible for a few hours after sunset. Jupiter appears bigger and
brighter (12x) than Saturn. Binoculars and telescopes will definitely enhance the
view. A telescope will also give you a closer view of Jupiter's cloud bands, the
four satellites that Galileo first saw in 1610, and Saturn's rings which are 21°
from edge-on. All within one field of view! This is shown in the third image here:
Don't miss this rare, historical, remarkable, and spectacular event!
P.S. You don't have to wait until the winter solstice to see Jupiter and Saturn.
They are visible all month. They appear 2° apart (4 moon diameters) on
December 1. Watch them slowly move closer together every night. On
December 16 they'll be just one Moon diameter (0.5°) apart.
P.P.S. The next Great Conjunction is on Halloween, 2040, when these planets
will be 1° apart (two Moon diameters) before sunrise.
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