It is among the most anticipated astronomical events of 2020: the Great Conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter, which occurs every 400 years. Here’s when and how to see it.
A few weeks ago, in showing you the image captured by the Cadore astrophotographer Giorgia Hofer, chosen on that occasion by NASA as the astronomical photo of the day, we had highlighted that, in that splendid setting, you could glimpse a “taste” of what, of a few months later, it would become one of the most anticipated astronomical events of 2020: the “Great Conjunction” between Saturn and Jupiter.
In the meantime the two planets have continued to “get closer” and on 21 December (here is the fateful date!) The two planets will appear with their celestial coordinates that will almost overlap, an event that has not occurred since 1623.
In reality, as many will already know, it is only an apparent phenomenon because the two planets will actually be at enormous distances from each other (between the two there will be about 800 million kilometers!): The representations of the stars on a single plane (the celestial vault) leads us to believe that they are “close”, while in reality they are at “cosmic” distances between them.
THEY SEEM NEARBY, BUT … It is the same phenomenon that “makes us see” two-dimensional figures drawn by the stars of the zodiac: in reality also in this case the stars we observe are not on the same plane, but are often light years apart one from the other.