Source: The Indian Express
News: After nearly 400 years, Saturn and Jupiter will be brought closest in the night sky by an astronomical event called the “great conjunction” and popularly referred to as the “Christmas Star”.
- What is Conjunction?
It is the name given to any event where planets or asteroids appear to be very close together in the sky when viewed from the Earth.
- What is Great Conjunction?
Astronomers use the term great conjunction to describe meetings of the two biggest planets in the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn.
- The Great Conjunction happens once in about 20 years because of the time each of the planets takes to orbit around the Sun.
- Why this Great Conjunction is special?
- The alignment: Both the planets are casting the same angle with that reference plane (Earth orbital plane). Thus, the planets will come the closest to each other in nearly four centuries
- Previous such Great Conjunction:
- 1623 Great Conjunction – During the reign of Mughal emperor Jahangir (Before Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji birth)
- 1226 Great Conjunction – A year before the death of the Mongol ruler Genghis Khan.
- Time taken to orbit around the sun: Jupiter takes roughly 12 years to complete one lap around the Sun and Saturn takes 30 years (Saturn has a larger orbit and moves more slowly because it is not as strongly influenced by the Sun’s gravitational force as planets that are closer to the Sun).
- Jupiter: It is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot is a giant storm bigger than Earth that has raged for hundreds of years.
- Saturn: It is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest planet in the solar system. Adorned with thousands of beautiful ringlets, Saturn is unique among the planets.