An Australian photographer has captured a photograph in which the International Space Station (ISS) can be seen moving between Jupiter and Saturn during the Great Conjunction, reported Colossal.
The Great Conjunction is when two planets appear closest together in the sky. This event occurs roughly every two decades. But the one that happened this year on December 21 was special because, during this Great Conjunction, Jupiter and Saturn appeared closer together in the sky than they have since March 4, 1226.
Many photographers and space enthusiasts trained their cameras towards the event and shot photos of the event. However, one among them definitely stands out for capturing ISS, a habitable artificial satellite and a multinational collaborative project, moving between the two glowing planets.
The photographer who captured the image is Jason De Freitas. He travelled for an hour from his home in New South Wales to Jellore lookout, where he employed a variety of equipment to align and click the – almost literally – stellar photograph. The image had an exposure of ten seconds.
The 28-year old Australian is an aeronautical engineer by day and a ‘mad scientist photographer’ by night. According to his website, “he creates unique and experimental work through analog mediums …Jason is recognised for his analog astrophotography, aerochrome infrared landscapes and stereoscopic star trails.”
This Great Conjunction is expected to last till Christmas Day 2020, however, the two planets were the closest on December 21. The next Great Conjunctions will take place in 2040 and 2060; however, the visibility is not expected to be as good as it was this time.
An Indian photographer’s image of the event also made waves on the Internet. Sajal Chakravorty, who is based in Melbourne, clicked an image in which he caught not just the two planets but also the four largest moons of Jupiter.
The images from the enthusiasts caused quite a hustle on social media. Many organised elaborate arrangements with telescopes to be able to view the phenomenon. NASA, the US' space agency, too posted a picture of how the Great Conjunction looked from the moon.
“Skywatchers are in for an end-of-year treat. What has become known popularly as the “Christmas Star” is an especially vibrant planetary conjunction easily visible in the evening sky over the next two weeks as the bright planets Jupiter and Saturn come together, culminating on the night of Dec. 21,” NASA had posted on its website on December 15, giving astronomy enthusiasts a much-needed reason for cheer.