Every year Winter Solstice is celebrated on the 21st of December worldwide and by Google, indicating the shortest and coldest day of the year. But this year, it’s going to be even more special (find out here), as we’ll witness another miraculous event around the same time: The Great Conjunction!
Here are the five shocking facts about the great conjunction!
What really happens on the 2020 winter solstice?
As we already mentioned, the Winter Solstice happens on the 21st of December every year and it’s the shortest day of the year. But how is it possible? That’s your actual question, right?
Basically on this day, the sun tends to be at its lowest in the Northern Hemisphere sky, making it stand at the farthest standpoint in the Southern region. Therefore, the sun finds itself directly over the Tropic of Capricorn.
Here are the closest pictures of Sun released by NASA.
Due to this reason, people who reside at 23.5 degrees south latitude, experience the sun right over them at noon. The day is considered to be their summer solstice. Shortly thereafter, the sun starts to move towards the north again.
But if you thought that because of the winter solstice, the Northern Hemisphere would also observe the latest sunrise and earliest sunset, you’re wrong. They, in fact, occur two weeks prior and after the winter solstice 2020. The reason is simple: the distance is changing from the sun elliptically and not in a circular motion, which changes the speed at which we orbit around the sun.
When you compare the position of the sun at the same time every other day of the year, you’d notice that it’s not the same. It would be right to state that the sun is positioned higher in the summer and lower in the sky during winters. But we must also keep in mind that it moves from side to side at its regular noontime position. Due to this reason, the time at which the sun rises and sets changes.
It must also be kept in mind that varied seasons exist due to the axial tilt of Earth – the distance from the Sun plays no role in this phenomenon. So, the explanation that we’re closest to the sun in January is baseless.
Now onto out next question: What exactly is the great conjunction?
As you may know, Saturn and Jupiter have been seen fairly close to one another throughout the year. But things will be different this time around. On the 21st of December, both planets will experience a somewhat meet up, giving us a rare sight to witness on that night.
Good news for people who’ve got a pair of binoculars: you can witness this miraculous occasion, easily on the 21st of December. It’s the first time in two decades that this merger of some kind will be spotted. next time it appears will be 2080, and we bet you on this, most of us will be dead by then.
The last time we got to see this unique union was back in 2000, however, the two planets were soon separated by two full-moon widths. This year, the orbits are in favor yet again and they appear to be approximately one-fifth of a full-moon diameter.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime type of a situation because you won’t be able to view this sight in the next 60 years at least. And it’s also being said that this time around the union will be spectacular and large.
Check out the top memes on Twitter about December 21st - #Black Superpowers!
Are you interested in viewing the great conjunction? You can stream it on one of the observatory telescope sessions that will go live on the day. There will be expert panels available during that session to respond to your queries. But hey, remember that it will be out at dusk so be prepared. In the United States, the conjunction will be seen at 5:02 a.m. ET.
Can’t wait to celebrate the December Solstice and Great Conjunction’ of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21st! Also, check out the 19 most creative New Year Eve's ideas 2021 while you enjoy the December Global Holidays and keep safe from the deadly Coronavirus mutating in the UK!