Hundreds of Space Fans Gather to Watch as Jupiter and Saturn 'Merge' in Rare Celestial Event

Buzz | News18.com | December 22, 2020, 8:02 am
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 It's not every day that two gaseous giants flirt with each other in the night sky so when Jupiter and Saturn recently turned into " title=" It's not every day that two gaseous giants flirt with each other in the night sky so when Jupiter and Saturn recently turned into "companions", space lovers were armed with their cameras and telescopes to capture the special moment. The two biggest planets in our solar system Jupiter and Saturn appeared closer to one another in 367 (1623) years on Monday since the Galileo's time in the 17th century. Photo: Reuters
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It's not every day that two gaseous giants flirt with each other in the night sky so when Jupiter and Saturn recently turned into "companions", space lovers were armed with their cameras and telescopes to capture the special moment. The two biggest planets in our solar system Jupiter and Saturn appeared closer to one another in 367 (1623) years on Monday since the Galileo's time in the 17th century. Photo: Reuters

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This "great conjunction", as it is known to astronomers, occurred fortuitously on the winter solstice for those in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of summer in the global south. The two planets were, in fact, more than 730 million kilometres (400 million miles) apart. But because of their alignment in relation to Earth, they appeared to be closer to each other than at any time in almost 400 years. Photo: Agencies

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 The best viewing conditions on Monday were in clear skies and close to the Equator, while people in Western Europe and along a vast swathe of Africa had to train their sight to the southwest. But hundreds of space fans also gathered in Kolkata to watch -- through a telescope at a technology museum in the city, or from surrounding rooftops and open areas. And in Kuwait, astrophotographers travelled into the desert west of Kuwait City to capture the once-in-a-lifetime event. Photo: AFP<br />
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The best viewing conditions on Monday were in clear skies and close to the Equator, while people in Western Europe and along a vast swathe of Africa had to train their sight to the southwest. But hundreds of space fans also gathered in Kolkata to watch -- through a telescope at a technology museum in the city, or from surrounding rooftops and open areas. And in Kuwait, astrophotographers travelled into the desert west of Kuwait City to capture the once-in-a-lifetime event. Photo: AFP

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 Looking with a telescope or even a good pair of binoculars, the two gas giants were separated by no more than a fifth of the diameter of a full moon. Photo: AFP<br />
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Looking with a telescope or even a good pair of binoculars, the two gas giants were separated by no more than a fifth of the diameter of a full moon. Photo: AFP

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 The last time Jupiter and Saturn nuzzled up this close was in 1623, but weather conditions in regions where the reunion could be seen blocked the view. Jupiter, which is the larger planet, takes 12 years to revolve around the sun, while Saturn takes 29 years. Every 20 years or so, they appear to observers on Earth to come closer to each other. Photo: AFP<br />
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The last time Jupiter and Saturn nuzzled up this close was in 1623, but weather conditions in regions where the reunion could be seen blocked the view. Jupiter, which is the larger planet, takes 12 years to revolve around the sun, while Saturn takes 29 years. Every 20 years or so, they appear to observers on Earth to come closer to each other. Photo: AFP

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 Saturn, top, and Jupiter, below, are seen after sunset from Shenandoah National Park in Luray, Va. The two planets are drawing closer to each other in the sky as they head towards a
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Saturn, top, and Jupiter, below, are seen after sunset from Shenandoah National Park in Luray, Va. The two planets are drawing closer to each other in the sky as they head towards a "great conjunction" on Monday. Photo: AP

  • First Published: December 22, 2020, 8:02 am

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