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Today's reminder this afternoon is a rare conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter

At the time of conjunction, both planets will be seen in the west direction, just after sunset over the southwestern horizon close to the setting sun. A combination of two astronomical phenomena also occurs: the double planet and the winter solstice * The next close gathering - in March 2080 * And how does this relate to the way we discover planets outside the solar system?

This is how the planets will look on Monday evening (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/TNS)
This is how the planets will look on Monday evening (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/TNS)

Today (Monday, December 21, 2020), a very rare event will occur in the evening sky - the two largest planets in the solar system will come together. That is, the angular distance between them as seen from Earth will be so small that they will appear almost as one star in the sky. The two planets are the largest in the solar system and both move relatively slowly - Jupiter completes its orbit around the Sun approximately once every 12 Earth years and Saturn approximately once every 30 years. Therefore, conjunctions between these two planets are extremely rare.

Editor's note: The rare phenomenon of seeing a double planet happens to occur on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.

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At the time of conjunction, both planets will be seen in the west direction, just after sunset over the southwestern horizon close to the setting sun. The angular distance between the two giant planets will be about a fifth of the size of the full moon, or approximately 6 times the angular size of Jupiter, and this means that if we observe them with a telescope even at medium or high magnification - both will be seen in one field of view (southern Jupiter among the years). In the same field of vision it will be possible to distinguish both the four large moons of Jupiter (using a telescope) and the large moon of Saturn - Titan and of course its rings. The next time there will be a grouping between Jupiter and Saturn will be in about 20 years, in October 2040, but then the angular distance between them will be 10 times greater and only on March 15, 2080, these two planets will group together again and the angular distance between them will be the same as that seen this coming Monday. The gathering can be seen from anywhere in the country, even with the naked eye. of course thattelescope Enhances the experience, because then you can see the rings of Saturn, the cloud belts of Jupiter and its four large moons. also Field binoculars You will see the two planets as well as the four moons of Jupiter.

Does clustering have a physical meaning?

Yes. It should be remembered that these are the two largest planets in the solar system, located far from it. Therefore, at the time of the clustering, the center of gravity of the Sun will be outside the Sun, up to the radius of the Sun and more, so that in fact all the planets and the Sun now revolve around a point outside the Sun.

This will actually continue in the years to come as long as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are in a relatively narrow sector of the sky in relation to the Sun. An alien, looking through a telescope at the solar system from a distant solar system, will actually see the sun moving relative to that point and will therefore conclude that there are planets around it. This is how we actually discover planets around other suns, causing those suns to orbit the system's center of gravity.

"The Star of Bethlehem"

Some argue that the constellation of the two planets was the star of Bethlehem, which heralded the birth of Jesus. According to the legend, it was said: Where is the born king of the Jews, because we saw his star in the east. What then is that star of Bethlehem? It turns out that around the year when counting began, there were several very close groupings of two other planets - Venus and Jupiter. These are extremely rare groupings that occur only once every hundreds of years. Venus is the brightest planet in the sky so these groupings are more significant.

The grouping that corresponds to the time of the beginning of the Christian era and therefore to the time of the alleged birth of Jesus, occurred in August in the year 1 BC (the day of the month according to the civil calendar has no meaning in the years before 1582, the beginning of the introduction of the civil calendar). The angular distance between Venus and Jupiter was about a tenth (!) of the angular distance between Jupiter and Saturn in the current constellation and it is possible that they appeared to the eye as one star, the intensity of its light was the sum of the light of the two bright planets. This grouping is problematic because it was seen in the west direction, while according to legend, the star of Bethlehem was seen in the east direction.

However, there is a problem regarding the time of Jesus' birth. The year of King Herod's death was in 4 BC and it is not possible that Jesus was born after his death if we accept what is told in the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to find a cluster that coincides with the time of Jesus' birth, you must find clusters earlier or closer to this year.

A close and rare grouping

Close conjunctions were in February 5 AD, when the angular distance between Venus and Jupiter was 3 times greater than the angular distance between Jupiter and Saturn this year, and both planets were visible above the eastern horizon before sunrise. However, in this case it was clear that it was two planets and they did not appear to be one. The most interesting grouping, from an astronomical point of view, occurred in the year 2 BC in the month of February. This close and rare grouping occurred when the two planets were so close that Venus rocketed to the southern edge of Jupiter. But even this very rare grouping was seen in the evening sky, in a western direction and therefore does not fit the description.

A grouping that may be the grouping in question took place in the month of August in the year 3 BC. It was also such a close grouping that the two planets appeared to the eye as one star and it was seen in the east before sunrise. By the way - two months earlier, Venus also passed at a similar angular distance from the planet Saturn, an extremely rare event. It is worth remembering that the New Testament was written decades and hundreds of years after the events, therefore it is most likely that the close and rare frequent groupings of Venus and Jupiter in those years were the source of this sentence and the Star of Bethlehem.

Dr. Yigal Fat-El, Cosmos telescopes.

More of the topic in Hayadan:

3 תגובות

  1. As written in the prophets in the latter days, the idols of Greece and Rome, Egypt and China were met and Ragnarok began against the whole world. Jacob's star was set as another star and not these. Jacob's Star is Nivro, X is the star of Bethlehem, it is the announcement to the world that the process of the ropes of the Messiah and the redemption of the land and the Jews has begun, this star is visible every night and at the time of midnight correction on the horizon 120 degrees as it appears to me from the compass from the cell phone, we are in Mega ropes of the Messiah in mercy all the signs in the prophets for the next appeared and appear including the closures, confusion and chaos

  2. The Space Agency Cordani found evidence of Saturn and Jupiter going to rescue each other and unite into one planet recently since the 7th century AD

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