-   21 de dezembro de 2020 - 18:27 (UTC)   -


The last months of 2020 Jupiter and Saturn have dominated the night sky, being an unmistakable visual reference. Now, as the year ends and as their positions approach twilight, they will end up offering a final show: the Great Conjunction, a "Gathering of Giants." Their closest apparent approach, on the line of visual projection from Earth, will occur on December 21 at 18:27 (UTC), at which time the angular separation of these gas giants will be only 6.11 minutes arc. The image that we will have in the sky will be the one contemplated by the simulation of the attached figure (click on the image to enlarge), with an unprecedented dance of satellites in this reduced visual field.

A conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn is not exceptional, but it is unusual. It can occur 4 or 5 times every 100 years. This time it is really special because his lineup is very close. As can be seen in the attached image, (which collects approximations for 2 centuries), another similar conjunction will not occur until the year 2080. The previous one of these characteristics took place on July 16, 1623.

But not only December 21 can be of interest to astrophotographers, amateurs and astronomers in general. The observations of days before and immediately afterwards will also be interesting, in which both planets will combine their approach until reaching the maximum. (See also next image).


To facilitate and channel the desirable activities on the occasion of this particular event, the entities listed on the right bank have joined forces in order to join forces and offer means, carry out actions, including dissemination, and encourage the participation of professionals and amateurs in the same. It is intended that these pages collect and be a reference for these activities, in addition to serving as a communication channel between all Pro-Am who can and wish to participate in this "Giants Meeting".


 



- Collaborating observatories


  • on-line broadcasts
    (provisional advance - information will be updated).

 

- Planetario de Pamplona: Observación y retransmisión en directo (se indicará oportunamente el canal).
Al tiempo se proyectará sobre el edificio del planetario la noche del 21 de diciembre.
Contacto: Iñaki Ordóñez-Etxeberria <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Observatorio de Guirguillano (Navarra):
Observación y retransmisión.
Contacto: Iñaki Ordóñez-Etxeberria <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Observatorio del Aula Espazio Gela (Bilbao):
Observación y transmisión en directo. Días previos y el 21D.

Telescopio reflector de 20" y refractor de 12".
Web en construcción.

Contacto: Santiago Pérez-Hoyos <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> y Ricardo Hueso <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Observatorio del Museo de las Ciencias de CLM && AstroCuenca (Cuenca).
Observación y transmisión en directo. Días previos y el 21D.
Telescopio 16" + CCD: QHY90A y QH5-III. Canal YouTube.
Contacto: J. Álvaro <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Sociedad Malagueña de Astronomía (Málaga).
Observación y transmisión en directo. Telescopio C11 && ZWO ASI224MC.
Contacto: Alberto Castellón <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Observatorio Astronómico de la Hita (La Puebla de Almoradiel - Toledo).
Observación y transmisión en directo. Canal YouTube.
Contacto: Faustino Organero <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Complejo Astronómico Municipio de El Espinar -CAME - (Segovia) - Asoc. Hespérides
Observación y transmisión en directo. Canal de Youtube
Contacto: Juanjo García <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Astróbriga (Ciudad Rodrigo - Salamanca)
Observación y transmisión en directo. Telescopio C SCT 9.25 && ZWO ASI 290MC
Contacto: Nicolas Cahen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Nayoro Observatory of Japan -
Transmisión en streaming. Telescopio 1.600 mm DF 19.200 mm

- Nagoya City Science Museum of Japan -
Transmisión en streaming

- Virtual Telescope Project of Italy - 16:30 UTC
https://www.virtualtelescope.eu/webtv/

- Observatorio Colegio San Antonio - (Puerto Rico) -
Telescopio Celestron Edge HD Schmidt-Cassegrain 280 mm

  

 

- Amateurs / Astrophotographers 


  • The joint vision of Jupiter and Saturn is an inspiring image, a true Gathering of Giants capable of raising our gaze towards the sky. We would like to have your observation of both planets. Whether you are a fan of deep sky astrophotography, or if you prefer planetary photography or even night landscapes, we invite you to observe these planets during the next few nights and send us your observations to the gallery of photographs that we are preparing.

  • We are especially interested in the photographs that show the conjunction on different dates as both planets gradually get closer to each other until they end only 6 minutes apart on December 21, to progressively move away from that moment. If you wish to send us your images, please send your photographs to J. Álvaro, <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>, along with your name. The images will also be available on this web page and, if they are very numerous, we will make a complete gallery and another of selected images. 

 


© Giorgia Hofer

 

  • Observation of Jupiter and Saturn with binoculars and telescope.

In this document.pdf you will be able to find useful information for observing the two planets and their satellites, as well as useful tips for recording observations and a file to record them. It is also recommended to attend the workshops and talks that have been organized to celebrate the event.

 

- WorkShops - (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


  • Friday, December 11 - 18:00 h
     
    • planetary drawing workshop, by Leonor Ana Hernández (AstroHita)

       
  • Monday, December 14 - 18:00 h 
    • planetary astrophotography

 "La observación de los planetas gigantes y la conjunción del 21D", por Santiago Pérez-Hoyos (UPV/EHU)
En este taller repasaremos interactivamente algunas herramientas indispensables para la observación y el procesado de imágenes de los planetas gigantes, Júpiter y Saturno, de cara a prepararnos para la próxima conjunción del 21 de diciembre.

    • experiences for students, (secondary and high school)

"La Gran Conjunción", por Carolina Clavijo (ApEA)
Desde hoy hasta el próximo 21 de Diciembre 2020, vamos a estudiar la gran conjunción. Veremos cómo se mueven los planetas en el cielo, y en concreto cómo Júpiter “se acerca” a Saturno. Esto no volverá a ocurrir hasta dentro de 60 años.

 

 

- Outreach - (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) 


  • Friday, December 18 - 18:00 h  
    • conferences

"Gigantes del Sistema Solar: Exóticos e inmensos escultores de nuestro sistema planetario", por Ricardo Hueso Alonso (UPV/EHU)

"A la caza del Snark espacial. Sobre la exploración de los océanos planetarios con mapas vacíos", por Olga Prieto (CAB-INTA-CSIC)

    • round table and debate

 

 

- Poster


If you participate or collaborate with activities of the event and want to use the poster designed for the occasion, you can download it by clicking on the image.


 


What is a planetary conjunction?

A conjunction is an astronomical event that occurs when two stars have a very small apparent distance between them when they are observed from Earth. The conjunctions occur between the planets, the Moon and the Sun, because they are objects that gradually change their position in the sky, either by their own movement or by the movement of the Earth. Conjunctions are relatively frequent phenomena because all objects in the Solar System follow movements apparently along a line in the sky, the same for all, which we call "ecliptic." This is because all the planets and objects in the Solar System are approximately in one plane, as a consequence of their formation process, about 4,500 million years ago, when the nebula of dust and gas that gave us origin contracted by gravity. In the case of planetary conjunctions it is necessary that the Earth and the two planets that are part of the conjunction are aligned.


Does the fact that they look very close together in the sky mean that they also get closer to each other?

No. The approximation between objects in conjunction is a visual phenomenon and does not imply that both objects are close to each other. In this conjunction the physical distance between Jupiter and Saturn reached its minimum distance on October 12, 2020, with a separation of almost 730 million kilometers. However, the greatest visual proximity between the two planets will occur on December 21. This is because not only the movements of Jupiter and Saturn come into play, but also the translational movement of the Earth and its alignment with the other two planets.


When was this conjunction last seen, and when will it be seen again?

The conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn is periodic, and occurs approximately every 20 years. However, the last time there was a chance to see such a close conjunction between the two planets was in 1623. To see a conjunction at such a short distance again, we will have to wait until 2080.

- relative positions from December 15 to December 27 -

How can I observe the conjunction?

Jupiter and Saturn are bright planets that can be seen as bright stars without the need for optical instruments. The days leading up to December 21, the two planets can be observed with the naked eye in a very close position in the sky. On December 21 it will be convenient to use binoculars to distinguish them from each other. If you have a simple telescope, you will be able to distinguish, in addition to the planets, the rings of Saturn and the largest of the moons of both planets.

Where do I have to look?

The conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn will be visible at dusk with both objects at elevations of about 20 degrees above the horizon at the beginning of the night. Looking west, both planets can be seen as two very close bright stars or a single, very bright point. With binoculars, the distance between both objects will be observed well and some of their satellites can be seen.

And if it's cloudy, will I be able to see it before or after December 21?

Yes, the conjunction can be observed the days before and after, although the distance between Jupiter and Saturn will not be so small. In any case, if atmospheric conditions do not allow us to observe the conjunction from our location, we can resort to online observation of the event. For this, from this same page we will facilitate the transmission of the conjunction from different professional and amateur observatories.

I am Pisces, can this planetary alignment affect me in any way?

Yes. If you observe the conjunction with binoculars you will see how celestial mechanics works live, and you will see in detail this special and beautiful event that astronomy gives us. You will also observe that the firmament is already wonderful enough that it is totally unnecessary to invent or believe in unfounded astrological ideas. It also works if you are a Sagittarius.

 

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