Unremarkable Great Conjunction

Click for full-sized image.

December 20th, 2020, 5:00 p.m. local time

Assuming no more cosmological events of note for 2020, I found the “great conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn to be not all that great.

I have been anticipating this time for over a year, thinking about it last September when I first took this image of Jupiter and Saturn coming together.  In hindsight, I am not sure exactly what I expected from a planetary alignment that is both predictable and happening purely by chance right now.

Weather may have played a role in my disappointment, as there was a slight overcast and haze.  I had difficulty focusing my digital camera on tripod, even when targeting the nearby crescent Moon, due to the hazy dusk conditions.  And I knew from past experiences that the view from my telescopes would have been too blurry to be worth the effort in near-freezing conditions (since the planets were so low in the sky).

But I did capture the two planets unremarkably, as you can see in the corresponding image.  You probably will have to expand the image to see faint Saturn.

Perhaps in the year when I saw a comet, took my best Mars image, and captured a meteor, this conjunction was destined to be anti-climatic.

Yet if I can take one figurative observation from last night, it is this: after seeing the two planets together, it’s not hard to imagine how such an alignment, embellished by background stars or other phenomena, could have been interpreted as a divine sign by the ancients.

7 thoughts on “Unremarkable Great Conjunction

  1. I don’t know the reference, but when the eye sees two bright objects close together in the dark sky, it excites the part of the brain that processes vision. It’s been harder looking through tree branches. But my 2 1/2 year old grand daughter saw the Moon on her one and then, Jupiter (Saturn was fainter) after I pointed it out. (Then, Mars and, the next morning, Venus, and Mercury on SOHO. By the way, we were looking at Nat Geo maps of the planets and discussing the Moons of Jupiter and Saturn. We talked about how she could someday bring back rocks, not from our Moon, but from the Moons of Jupiter!

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  2. Pingback: Something Remarkable out of the Unremarkable | Aperture Astronomy

  3. I’m glad you were able to see it, as unremarkable as it may have been. It’s been nothing but clouds here all week, and I haven’t seen a thing. It’s been great seeing it vicariously though the photos people like you have posted, though.

    Liked by 2 people

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