Celebrating Summer 2020 and The Great Conjunction! (Southern Hemisphere) – As Earth’s Southern Hemisphere welcomes summer and winds down from the longest day of the year, it seems Jupiter and Saturn have decided to put on quite an unusual show for the world to see!
The two largest planets in our solar system will nearly overlap to form a “double planet,” an event that hasn’t been easily visible since the Middle Ages—almost 800 years ago. Today’s animated Doodle celebrates the Southern Hemisphere’s first day of summer as well as this rare double planet sighting–or “Great Conjunction”–which can be viewed from anywhere around the globe!
So what exactly is creating this celestial phenomenon? Based on their orbits, from our vantage point on Earth, Jupiter and Saturn will cross within .1 degrees of each other (a fraction of the width of the full moon), a once-in-a-lifetime rendezvous recreated in the Doodle artwork. But looks can be deceiving, as the two gas giants will actually remain a vast distance of approximately 450 million miles apart!
Make sure you look out low above the horizon tonight and take in this momentous meet-and-greet between Jupiter and Saturn–it’s sure to be out of this world!
Huge thanks to NASA for their collaboration on this Doodle
Interested in watching the “Great Conjunction” tonight?
• Find a spot with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as a field or park.
• An hour after sunset, Jupiter will look like a bright star and be easily visible in the southwestern sky. Saturn will be slightly fainter and will appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter until December 21, when Jupiter will overtake it and they will reverse positions in the sky.
• Feel free to use binoculars, but the planets can still be seen with the unaided eye.
Visit NASA.gov and the sites below for more information on how you can experience this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.
What’s Up, Skywatching Tips from NASA
NASA Science Live Conjunction Episode
Solar System Overview
You can find more about Celebrating Summer 2020 and The Great Conjunction! (Southern Hemisphere) on the official Google Doodle Page