Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2020 October 20
Explanation: Saturn and Jupiter are getting closer. Every night that you go out and check for the next two months, these two bright planets will be even closer together on the sky. Finally, in mid-December, a Great Conjunction will occur -- when the two planets will appear only 0.1 degrees apart -- just one fifth the angular diameter of the full Moon. And this isn't just any Great Conjunction -- Saturn (left) and Jupiter (right) haven't been this close since 1623, and won't be nearly this close again until 2080. This celestial event is quite easy to see -- already the two planets are easily visible toward the southwest just after sunset -- and already they are remarkably close. Pictured, the astrophotographer and partner eyed the planetary duo above the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Three Peaks of Lavaredo) in the Italian Alps about two weeks ago.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.