Get ready to witness a celestial wonder today, Mumbaikars!
Winter solstice this year will award the Mumbaikars with an astronomical treat, where Jupiter and Saturn will be seen as a single planet today. As per reports, this phenomenon called 'conjunction', will be witnessed after 800 years at 0° Aquarius in the south-western Mumbai sky. These two gaseous planets will align at a minimum distance of 0.1° to each other; in other words, the two planets will align near the moon, 6 minutes and 6 seconds apart from each other tonight.
The 'Great Conjunction' of 2020
December 21, 2020, will mark the celestial phenomenon of 'Great Conjunction' of Saturn and Jupiter, which will start at 6:15 PM in the evening and will be most clearly visible at 11:50 PM on Monday. The Nehru Science Centre in Worli and Space Geek, which is an organisation dedicated to space and astronomy, has busied itself with the task of webcasting the entire event, from the terrace of the science centre for the benefit of the people. This coming together of the two gas giants will kick off a totally-new two-hundred-year epoch known as the Age of Air. The Director of the Nehru Planetarium added that this event will be next seen on March 15, 2080.
As per forecasts, the conjunction will be visible in the south-western sky right over the city of Mumbai, making the city dwellers the front row audience of this treat. Officials at the Planetarium are hoping for a clear sky to ensure maximum visual sight. NASA has stated that the conjunction will be visible to the naked eye clearly without any special equipment and can be easily captured with DSLRs and mobile phone cameras.
Winter Solstice today
According to studies, Jupiter orbits the Sun every 12 years while Saturn takes 30 years to conclude its revolution. This leads to Jupiter catching up to Saturn every couple of decades. From the Mumbai Observatory set-up, Jupiter will move towards Saturn, trudging on the inside lane, finally overtaking it today, on December 21. This day also marks the annual phenomenon of Winter Solstice, when the sun shines directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, leading to longer days and shorter nights for the Northern Hemisphere of the earth.