Saturn and Jupiter have dominated the night sky from June 2020, appearing very close together, almost in conjunction near the constellation of Sagittarius. However, it is in December when the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn will be exceptional. The two planets seen from Earth will be closer and closer, appearing almost as a single point, in planetary alignment, by December 21/22 (See how to book below).
Astronomy Picture of the Day (NASA) 15/12/2020. Sebastian Voltmer.
What is so special about the conjunction?
Because of its closeness, the exceptional nature of the event and the fact that it takes place almost before Christmas, the event is already being called the “Star of Bethlehem“. There are many studies on what could have been the “star” seen more than 2000 years ago. It could have been a supernova, as Kepler postulated a few centuries ago (although there is no observable remnant that can be attributed to it). Or it could be a comet, like Halley’s comet that appeared in the sky in 12 BC, several years before the plausible date of Jesus’ birth. However, the downside to this second hypothesis is that comets in ancient times were very badly regarded as omens of calamity. In turn, the star of Bethlehem was seen (and it is still seen and expected) with joy, so the hypothesis of a comet is not widely accepted.
However, there is a third hypothesis, the hypothesis is that it was a planetary alignment, like the one we will have in a few days. The hypothesis is that there are multiple planets located nearby: a planetary conjunction. In fact, there were several strange encounters between prominent planets in the right period of time.
In the year 7 B.C., Jupiter and Saturn met three times. One year later, they joined Mars. And then between 3 and 2 B.C., what followed was a fantastic and unusual sequence of conjunctions: Saturn + Mercury, Saturn + Venus, Venus + Jupiter and Venus + Mercury. To finish again, Jupiter with Venus (the two brightest planets). And this time they came so close that they could appear as one to the human eye, seen from the Earth.
This year, 2020, we will have a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, in which they will almost appear as one to the human eye. It will be possible to observe the two planets together at the same time, through a telescope. And it will also be such a close conjunction that the last time they were so close was in the 13th century.
It will undoubtedly be something worth seeing. And also an event, which will not be repeated in our lives. You can’t miss it!
¿How to book?
|Day 21 – with own car||Reserve your ticket
|Day 23 – with transport include
(in colaboration w )
|Reserve your ticket 22/12/2020|
Sources: 1. https://www.lavanguardia.com/ciencia/20201214/6112869/jupiter-saturno-apareceran-planeta-doble-primera-vez-siglos.html. 2. https://www.abc.es/ciencia/abci-y-si-estrella-belen-fueron-realidad-planetas-juntos-201712201051_noticia.html. 3. Wikipedia. 4. Apod.