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    • On December 21st, Jupiter and Saturn will get as close to each other as they have in 800 years, within 0.1 degree, forming what some are calling a "Christmas Star." For those that believe in the star that led the wisemen to Jesus, it's likely that the "star" was formed by two planets getting close enough to each other to form what appears to be an especially radiant star.

      What makes this cool is a number of things:

      #1. The fact that it's happening at all. Every 20 years or so, Jupiter and Saturn get close together in what's called the Great Conjunction, but they don't get as close as they will in this upcoming event. It's been 800 years since they've been this close, making it an especially rare heavenly event. You have to go back to the year 1226 to find a year when these two gas giants were this close. That's pretty cool.

      #2. It's happening in December. If you are a Christian, you have to love the fact that a heavenly star of this historical magnitude is happening in the same time of year as when the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated.

      #3. It's happening in 2020. 2020 has been a rough year for many people. To have it end with something special and unique like this is pretty cool. A little friendly cosmic justice being thrown our way.

      (Photo: WKYC)

    • Jupiter and Saturn have been pretty close ever since late November, with Mars about 90º to the east - I've been watching them when the skies permitted, anticipating this conjunction in late December. In Indiana, they are above the horizon immediately after sun set, and set pretty early - so don't go out looking for them after midnight, if you are in the central US. Saturn is just a bit higher and to the east of Jupiter. Being planets they don't twinkle like stars.

      They are easily seen with the naked eye. With good binoculars you may be able to identify three or four Jovian moons as well, if your hands are steady. The Jovian moons are just tiny drops of light in a line with Jupiter, but it is pretty cool to see them with your own eyes and a pair of binoculars

      If you have really steady hands and good 12x binocs, you might just make out the presence of the rings of Saturn.

      To see more, will require a telescope of some sort.

      The second link has some great drawings of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, to help you identify them in the sky.

    • I took a few test shots last night they are already in the same shot now, but at 800mm pretty much corner to corner so in the coming days they will be closer so makign for a better shot when cropped in, we'll see how things go, rain predicted here towards the end of next week.

    • That is awesome! Thanks so much for that fantastic info! Sounds like you've been on this for a while!

      I just find astronomy to be super interesting. Amazing that these heavenly bodies exist!

    • I'll share what I can, took a few more tonight still to upload then shortly into the Mac then need to play with then, As is always the way today might have been the last clear night Rain predicted now fro the next week and a half, hopefully will clear by the 19th, I shot tonight with the R5 and 800mm f11. They are both in the same frame but really only points of light untill I zoom in, but then they won't be in the same frame so hopefully they'll turn out OK and clear skys closer to the event. In the mean time I've got to teach myself astro image stacking. Good luck there, Clear skys.

    • These are pretty much the Images out of the camera a little bit of lightroom edits but this is the image Jupiter and Satin with the R5 and Canon 800mm f11, Single image, I've got several so will be working on these to work out Astro image stacking. Tonight was clouded out and the next week is expected the same hopefully to clear out by the 19th Dec. so a few days before the closest point. Jupiter is the bottom left dot and Saturn the top right faint dot. Not something to get to excited Astro photography-wise.

    • Yeah no joy here. The last week has been heavily clouded out which is why I got the shots the other week. Last night here was the night to shoot down here, but heavy rain all night 30mm over night no chance, this morning no rain at least but still heavy cloud cover over the whole east coast. Not looking promising for the rest of the week here for about 1000 km all round so may miss this one, just have to wait for the next one just a little wait and at 54 years old not liking my chances. Guess that’s 2020 all round here,

    • I got a good look at it tonight. My sister had to point it out to me, but we had a clear enough look at it. I had to look over one of my neighbor's house. The trick is you have to catch it as the sun is going down. It's also low on the horizon. At least out here in Northern California.

      I gotta say, it was pretty cool to see!

    • We've had decent cloud cover here every night since I did get one night when you could see it but still light cloud cover so no decent shots. Over here its visible jsut on dusk, so once the sky starts to get dark now its pretty much gone. Didn't help if bein gon the longest day of there year down here either, so between light and cloud no much luck here, guess I'll just have to wait around for the next one. Have good one there mate.

    • I had only mediocre sucess with the conjuction, but we did have pretty clear skies for the 20th, 21st, and the 22nd which was unusual in central Indiana in the winter time - I failed to fully grasp that the correct exposure for Jupiter, Saturn, and the Jovian moons were very different by 3-5 stops each, I would guess.

      But finally by the 22nd I had grokked the need for the different exposures, Jupiter being much much brighter than stars and its moons and Saturn and got this .... Shot with an R5 and and EOS 200-400 + 1.4 TC at 400mm via a stationary tripod at 1/30th f4.0 at ISO 400 - 6 frame stack of Jupiter with 4 moons, Saturn and what I think is a moon of Saturn at the lower 1/3 point in the image - you may need to see the image large to find it; it is dimmer than the Jovian moons - millions of miles further from the Earth than the Jovian moons too

      This 2nd image was shot with the same R5 and 200-400, but with the TC so at 560, still a very short lens to image planets, 1/30th, f5.6 ( since the TC costs a a stop ) at ISO 400. You can't see the moons as well, but the colors of Jupiter and Saturn are much more satisfactory. You can almost begin to appreciate the stripes on Jupiter. The moons may just be under exposed, or briefly dimmed by the atmsopheric movements - not sure which.

      @Glenn_Smith Jupiter slid below the horizon about 2 hours after the sun, so it was following the sun toward the horizon at sunset which was at 5:30 and Jupiter wasn't really visible until about 20 minutes after sunset when it was the brightest light in the sky other than the moon which was mid phase and growing larger, here in the central USA. So we had a short time to photograph before the conjunction slid below the horizon and we had fairly turbulent air still persisiting in the lower atmosphere as well.