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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Bengaluru: For the first time in over 400 years, sky gazers will be able to witness the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Both the planets will merge in the night sky on Monday, December 21, appearing closer to one another than they have since the 17th century. The reunion of Jupiter and Saturn is known as the 'Great Conjunction'.

Both the planets Jupiter and Saturn will be reunited on the longest night of 2020, the winter solstice.

Meanwhile, Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru has made arrangements to watch the rare sight of celestial conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn planets on Monday between 6.30-7.30 p.m., an official said on Sunday.

"We have set up telescopes in our premises to watch the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on Monday evening if weather conditions permit," said the planetarium official in a statement here.

Due to the Covid-induced restrictions on people gathering in large numbers in public places, those who register online to watch the celestial event will be allowed in the planetarium in batches of limited numbers to maintain social distancing.

"Those unable to watch the event at the planetarium due to curbs on crowding, can see the conjunction of the two stars online at our website (www.taralaya.org) or Facebook and Youtube channel," said the statement.

As the fifth planet from the sun, Jupiter is the largest in the solar system, as a gas giant with a mass one-thousandth of the Sun.

"As the sixth planet from the sun and second largest in the solar system, Saturn is a gas giant with an average radius of nine times that of earth," added the official.

The conjunction also coincides with the longest day (December 21) in the year as the sun reaches a point where it appears to shine farthest to the south of equator over the Tropic of Capricorn, marking the start of the winter solstice.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) said it’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed this close to each other in the sky, and nearly 800 years since the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter occurred at night, as it will for 2020, allowing nearly everyone around the world to witness this 'Great Conjunction'.

The 'Great Conjunction' will be easily visible around the world a little after sunset, if the raingods in your area are kind enough.

(With IANS Inputs)

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