Question When Jupiter and Saturn align what will it look like

Dec 1, 2020
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What will Jupiter and satern look like aligned? Is it true that when Jupiter and satern align it is supposed to be the star of belthlehem?
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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FYI. I viewed Saturn and Jupiter this evening shortly after sunset. A note from my stargazing log. [Observed 1700-1730 EST. I did some prep work for the very close conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter coming on 21-Dec-2020. Saturn and Jupiter easy to see, well above the tree line in SW in my field. I used an older 40-mm plossl for 25x, wide field view with the 90-mm refractor telescope. Both planets just fit into the FOV. At 25x I could see some cloud belt on Jupiter, 3 Galilean moons on one side, another Galilean moon on the other side. Saturn rings just visible and Titan distinct. This was a fun test. If weather permits perhaps I can get a very good view of Saturn and Jupiter about 6 arcminute angular separation on 21-Dec near 1700 EST/2200 UT. Tonight they were about 1.5 to 1.6 degrees apart or 91-92 arcminute. As Saturn and Jupiter get closer and closer this month for their conjunction, perhaps someone will get a very good photo. The pairing begs for some good pictures 🙂]

Tonight with very clear skies where I am at, I had no trouble seeing Saturn and Jupiter in SW sky shortly after sunset. The telescope view is much better but folks with sharp eyes on 21-Dec and clear skies and good view of SW sky low, should be able to see both planets as distinct, small but bright lights close together. Binoculars can enhance and show the Galilean moons at Jupiter too.
 

rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Sharp eyes Wolfshadw in post #3. I used a TeleVue 40-mm plossl with TeleVue Everbrite star diagonal. The true FOV about 1.7 to 1.8 degrees across in the eyepiece. Saturn and Jupiter were near the edge of the FOV but distinct. Better detail when I centered on each planet separately in the FOV at 25x. As Saturn and Jupiter continue to get closer and closer each evening, the telescope view will get better, weather dependent. I hope to enjoy some high power views on 21-Dec or sooner, perhaps 100x to 200x views. If you use a telescope, here is a note for this week from Sky & Telescope, "Jupiter and Saturn (magnitudes –2.0 and +0.6, respectively) tilt ever farther down in the southwest during and after twilight. Look early. Jupiter is the bright one; Saturn is upper left of it. Watch their separation shrink from 1.8° to 1.1° this week (from December 4th to 11th). Telescopic views will be disappointing, with the planets low in poor seeing.", https://skyandtelescope.org/observing/this-weeks-sky-at-a-glance-december-4-12-2/

I can say based upon what I viewed tonight, the pair approaching conjunction, with weather cooperating should be very delightful to see in a good telescope---Rod
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Wolfshadw, I purchased my 90-mm Vixen refractor in October 1991 outfitted with 1.25 inch focuser :) Recently I replaced the two slow motion control cables for altitude and azimuth control, the original were showing their age. I picked up the TeleVue Everbrite star diagonal too because the original, nearly 30 years old had dings, nicks, chips, etc. from wear and tear and my dropping it on the ground multiple times too. My alt-azimuth tripod, slow motion controls, and star diagonal work like a champ now and I use a Telrad for quick target acquisition to hit the tango :) I really love that simple, 90-mm refractor and tripod. I also have a larger, 10-inch Newtonian on Dob mount with 2-inch eyepiece and others too.
 
Jun 1, 2020
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Some may find these two images helpful for preparing for the event. I tried to find a time that might show a transit of Io or another moon but I didn't find anything, but I also didn't search hard.





Notice how the alignment of the path of Saturn matches the alignment of the moons of Jupiter. [Jupiter also travels a parallel path.] This illustrates the ecliptic plane that the planets travel. When Galileo first saw the moons of Jupiter he noticed that these peculiar "stars" aligned with the ecliptic, which helped him realize they weren't stars after all.

[The direction arrow is relative to a fixed Jupiter, but it is Jupiter that is moving faster relative to Saturn.]
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Some may find these two images helpful for preparing for the event. I tried to find a time that might show a transit of Io or another moon but I didn't find anything, but I also didn't search hard.





Notice how the alignment of the path of Saturn matches the alignment of the moons of Jupiter. [Jupiter also travels a parallel path.] This illustrates the ecliptic plane that the planets travel. When Galileo first saw the moons of Jupiter he noticed that these peculiar "stars" aligned with the ecliptic, which helped him realize they weren't stars after all.

[The direction arrow is relative to a fixed Jupiter, but it is Jupiter that is moving faster relative to Saturn.]
Helio, I enjoy Starry Night simulation views too :)---Rod
 
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Wolfshadw

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Ok. This is really bumming me out! Unless you're a transplanted penguin, December in MN is no time to be outside at night looking at the stars, but it is absolutely gorgeous out tonight. Clear skies. Temps in the mid 40s. I can even get Jupiter (as a light blur) on my crappy 2 MP cell phone camera.

If anyone out there is into astrophotography, PLEASE, post some images for us!

:cool:

-Wolf sends
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Wolfshadw, keep trying and get that tripod fixed for the 114 mm or 4.5 inch Newtonian. if that scope is collimated correctly with clean lenses and mirror, you should get a very good view. COLGeek is trying to see as well. I went out in MD tonight from 1700-1745 EST. FYI, I know it is cold in MN. Cold here too 0C or colder but I have my wood burning stove running. Felt very good when I came back inside :)

Here is a note from my log.

[Observed 1700-1745 EST. Some good views of the coming conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter tonight using the 90-mm refractor with 40-mm plossl. Saturn and Jupiter slowly getting closer now and easier to see both in the FOV at 25x. Step by step, inch by inch, the pair are getting closer in the eyepiece view :). This promises to be an excellent sight in the telescope, weather permitting. As the pair get closer and closer, I will be able to run up the power while viewing and see more detail on both planets. 21-Dec very close conjunction, about 0.1 degree apart or 6' separation is coming and fast approaching. Tonight, Io and Europa close to Jupiter in the field of view (opposite sides), the other moons farther out. Starry Night simulation view was accurate. At Saturn, Titan moon visible along with rings. Tonight both planets ~ 78 arcminute. Saturn near 10:30 position of Jupiter. In the star diagonal view, north up, mirror reverse. Jupiter in lower left and Saturn in upper right but this pair closing in on each other now :).]
 
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Nov 2, 2020
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I did some prep work for the very close conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter coming on 21-Dec-2020
Wow, this event is so close. Anyway, I would like to know if the couple of planets will be in my sky when I watch it. Some days ago I wanted to check if these planets were closer than the last time and I noticed thanks to my app that they weren't there, I was very sad to discover it. I don't know if you can help me, I'm from Italy, in Europe, and I usually exit to watch the starry sky at nine o' clock. Will I be able to watch them?
Anyways, thanks for the information!
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Wow, this event is so close. Anyway, I would like to know if the couple of planets will be in my sky when I watch it. Some days ago I wanted to check if these planets were closer than the last time and I noticed thanks to my app that they weren't there, I was very sad to discover it. I don't know if you can help me, I'm from Italy, in Europe, and I usually exit to watch the starry sky at nine o' clock. Will I be able to watch them?
Anyways, thanks for the information!
9:00 PM local time is your problem vincenzosassone. I ran Stellarium 0.20.3 for Rome Italy. At 5:30 PM local time tonight, Saturn and Jupiter are visible shortly after sunset in SW sky in Sagittarius. They are about 16-17 degrees altitude or elevation and set shortly after 7:30 PM. I was out in my fields in USA tonight and enjoyed some great views using my telescope. [Observed 1700-1800 EST. 2200-2300 UT. Sunset 1645 EST/2145 UT. Some great views of Saturn and Jupiter tonight using 32-mm plossl and 90-mm refractor. True FOV about 1.5-degrees across at 31x. Both planets fit nicely in the field of view. By 1740 EST, I could see various faint stars in Sagittarius near Saturn, Titan, Jupiter, and the 4 Galilean moons. Jupiter NEB and SEB clouds visible. The view tonight would make a great photo, especially with stars in the field, Saturn, rings, Titan, Jupiter (cloud belts) and the 4 Galilean moons.]
 
Jun 1, 2020
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This is a problem...:sweatsmile:
Anyways, I'll try organize in some ways. Thank you very much!
It may not be as big a problem as you think. Your 5:30 pm is after Civil Twilight, which should make Jupiter and Saturn stand out. A small amount of sky light in the background is problematic for faint objects, not bright ones. Dec. 20th might give you the better view as they will be close together but a little higher in altitude. If you can get on a hill, that will help you.
 
Nov 2, 2020
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Dec. 20th might give you the better view as they will be close together but a little higher in altitude. If you can get on a hill, that will help you.
Great suggestion!!!
. A small amount of sky light in the background is problematic for faint objects, not bright ones.
Yeah, this is also true but now in this period I'm able to watch this objects (planets, the Moon and Vega) only after six o'clock, but if you're right, and I truly hope about this, the 20th I will be here watching this align! Anyways, this morning, worried because of this, I installed my old upp star walk 2, very useful at least in my opinion. I hope to understand how to change the time in order to see before at what time they go away and be ready.
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Great suggestion!!!

Yeah, this is also true but now in this period I'm able to watch this objects (planets, the Moon and Vega) only after six o'clock, but if you're right, and I truly hope about this, the 20th I will be here watching this align! Anyways, this morning, worried because of this, I installed my old upp star walk 2, very useful at least in my opinion. I hope to understand how to change the time in order to see before at what time they go away and be ready.
Stellarium Astronomy Software

You may also try the free download here, Stellarium 0.20.3. I find this works very well but does take some learning curve to master.
 
Dec 1, 2020
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I am hoping for some clear nights locally as this event unfolds.
Ok. This is really bumming me out! Unless you're a transplanted penguin, December in MN is no time to be outside at night looking at the stars, but it is absolutely gorgeous out tonight. Clear skies. Temps in the mid 40s. I can even get Jupiter (as a light blur) on my crappy 2 MP cell phone camera.

If anyone out there is into astrophotography, PLEASE, post some images for us!

:cool: I agree about the cold temps but during this event I will be in Dubai which is at night around 60s and during the day 80s and 90s which will make it a lot easier to see!
 
Nov 2, 2020
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Guys, I have an interesting story to tell you! Yestarday, the 20th of december I was sad because there were many clouds and I wasn't able even to watch this align... Today, hopeless, because of I thought to not be able to watch them, I exited at half past five. Thanks to stellarium, before to exit I watched the Moon, Mars and the two protagonists of the day: Jupiter and Saturn. Then, when I exited, I watched up, having as point of referment Mars and the Moon, and there, watching the sky, I watched them. They were so beautiful, they were the protagonists of the night. At the beginning I didn't managed to watched them as a distinct points but then, paing attection, I saw the two dot unifing under our glance. This was possible because of you, thank you so much.:blush:
 
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Wolfshadw

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Apr 1, 2020
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Sadly, my view tonight will be just like my view for the past 12 days. Cloud cover, but hey! At least it's not snowing (yet)!

-Wolf sends
 
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rod

Oct 22, 2019
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Wolfshadw, sorry to hear this for you. I did get an opportunity to view the event. I was out from 1645 EST until 1740 EST viewing using my 90-mm refractor and 10x50 binoculars. I did enjoy some very good telescope views of Saturn and Jupiter tonight after sunset at 129x. They were just about 0.1-degree apart and easily fit into the eyepiece view at 129x (a bit more than 0.5 degree field of view). Some very good sights. Saturn, rings, Titan, Jupiter with cloud bands, 3 Galilean moons on one side, Europa on the other. I will say 10x50 binocular views were terrific too. Both looked like diamonds in the SW sky tonight, especially as the sky darkened after sunset (about 1649 EST for me). By 1740, Saturn and Jupiter dropped below some trees in my area. At times some altocumulus clouds rolled by but overall, telescope views of these planets so close together was well worth the effort after sunset. So I can say I observed the 21-Dec-20, Christmas star 😊----Rod
 

COLGeek

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Apr 3, 2020
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I got home from an appointment with just enough time to see with the naked eye. Impressive. Not enough time to drag the telescope out though. Bummed by that part.
 
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