A conjunction to remember

The Great Conjunction of 2020 – when Jupiter and Saturn were closer in the sky than at any time for nearly 400 years – has now taken place. Jupiter is now to the east of Saturn in the sky and is moving away from it daily, but you can still see the pair until the first week in January when they will start to get very low in evening twilight sky.

If you want to catch it, look very low in the south-west about 4.30 pm to 5 pm. But don’t leave it any later or they will have set.

Here are some pictures taken by SPA members. It was cloudy over much of the UK on 21 December, the day of closest approach, but was clear over many areas on the 20th when these pictures were taken.

Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn
As seen from Walmer, Kent, by Paul Sutherland. Saturn is the upper object, and its largest moon, Titan, is visible to its upper right. Jupiter is below, with three of its moons visible plus the leftmost one being a star.
Robin Scagell’s view from High Wycombe as seen in the sky (inset) and through a 200 mm Meade telescope. Click to enlarge. In this view, Jupiter’s moon Io is also visible very close to the planet on the right.
Martin Lewis took this close-up view from St Albans using his home-built 222 mm reflector with a planetary camera.