Good News for Sky Lovers Sky Gazers! Christmas Star Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn visible to Sri Lanka on December 21 night. A rare lifetime celestial phenomenon in the western skies on December 21st : Jupiter and Saturn may appear almost like an elongated ball of light.
‘Great Conjunction’ of Jupiter and Saturn on Dec 21st
A very rare celestial phenomenon will take place on December 21st night when the two biggest planets of the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn comes closure to each other probably appearing them as a big elongated single planet.
You can look at the western skies these days after the Sunset and you will see the two planets are gradually coming closer to each other and the closet approach will occur on 21st December 2020 when the two planets will be separated by just about one-tenth of a degree or 6.1 arc minutes. On December 21st the two planets will set down at 8.14 p.m. Therefore, to watch this spectacular event, it is better to select a place where you can see the western skies clearly without much trees or buildings. About 30 minutes after the sunset, say from 6.30 p.m. – 7.30 p.m. period, look at the western skies closer to the horizon and towards somewhat northwest direction, you would see the two planets, perhaps as a double star or an elongated ball of light. Naked eye observation is possible or you may use a binocular.
In their elliptical movement around the Sun, the Jupiter passes the Saturn in a conjunction every 19.6 years, so the event is already rare, but on this December 21, the event will be the closest in the recent history. The last time these two planets appeared so close was 397 years ago, on July 16, 1623, when they were only 5 arc minutes apart. That was 13 years after Galileo built his first astronomical telescope and discovered the four large moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn and Sunspots among other discoveries.
Astonishingly, we will get another conjunction of the two planets with 6-arc minute separation in 60 years time, on March 15, 2080 said Prof. Chandana Jayaratne.