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Winter Solstice, Great Conjunction: Today's Google Doodle is an Exhibition of Astronomical Events

Screengrab of Monday's Google doodle.

Screengrab of Monday's Google doodle.

Google on Monday celebrated the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere with a homepage doodle. This year, December 21 marks the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.

Google on Monday showcased the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere with a homepage doodle. This year, December 21 marks the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.

On the longest night of 2020 on Monday, an incredible astronomic event known as the “great conjunction” can be witnessed. The great conjunction is a visual overlap of Saturn and Jupiter, our solar system’s two biggest planets, in the night sky.

Basically, Saturn and Jupiter will be within 0.1 degrees of each other. While the great conjunction occurs roughly every 20 years, the last time the event was as easily visible in the sky as it will be for this winter solstice was nearly 800 years ago.

In Google endearing doodle, the great conjunction is exhibited as cartoon Saturn and Jupiter meeting up for a quick high five, and the winter solstice as the literally “snow capped” Earth watching the other two planets.

The winter solstice, when the sun appears at its lowest point in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere, will also be when it appears to be at its farthest southern point over Earth, located over the Tropic of Capricorn.

It is the shortest day for those in the Northern Hemisphere, but oddly enough it's not the day with the latest sunrise and the earliest sunset, which happens two weeks before and two weeks after the winter solstice.

Monday's solstice will be caused by the Earth's changing distance from the sun, which is caused by our planet's elliptical, not circular, orbit, which also changes speed.

first published:December 21, 2020, 07:45 IST