The past year has been tough for all of us with the COVID-19 pandemic, but here and there, something great happens that reminds us that we are still here and that there's light at the end of the tunnel--and one of those great events is the Jupiter and Saturn great conjunction that was last seen around 400 years ago.
Jupiter and Saturn Great Conjunction
According to CNN, the great conjunction of two of our solar system's most massive planets, Jupiter and Saturn, happened this Monday, December 21.
The great conjunction happens as the two massive planets seemingly come closer together from our point of view, but in reality, there are still 500 million miles or 800 million kilometers between the two planets.
Nevertheless, the optical illusion made it seem like the two planets were practically kissing each other, forming a bright splash in the sky, which is known as the Christmas Star or the Bethlehem star.
However, it might simply be a coincidence that the great conjunction happened on this year's winter solstice and very close to the actual Christmas day--and since the two planets will be moving slowly from each other, they will still appear much closer to each other in the coming days.
Although they won't form the great Christmas Star, we might see both planets in our skies during Christmas day.
Once in a Lifetime
As per the Royal Astronomical Society in the United Kingdom, Jupiter and Saturn were only 0.1 degrees apart at their closest "encounter" this Monday, which is about one-fifth of the diameter of the full moon.
Moreover, the last known conjunction of the two planets was in 1623, but according to astronomers, the two planets would have appeared closer to the sun in the sky, so seeing them hundreds of years ago would have been hard.
Another great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn happened in 1226, which the astronomical society says would have been easier to see in the sky, but it happened way before telescopes were built. Now,
it's much easier to see the great conjunction in the sky, with Jupiter, being the biggest planet, easily the most visible and brighter than a slightly fainter Saturn. People closer to the equator would see the planets much better
If you haven't had the chance to see the planets in such proximity in our skies, it's best to see them when you can since the next one won't happen until 2080, and they would be much higher in the sky.
The next one to happen after that would be in 2400, so this is definitely a once in a lifetime event and something you'll never see again.
All Over Social Media
Sure enough, people over social media were stunned by the astronomical event and took the chance to capture stunning images of the great conjunction.
Tons of photos were uploaded on social media, especially on three of the biggest platforms: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter--and here are some of our top picks from these social media posts:
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Written by: Nhx Tingson