- Chris Baker
Night sky events not to be missed!
Jupiter and Saturn
Jupiter and Saturn appear close together at the moment - but as you can see from this diagram something special will happen on the 21st December 2020. Put it in your diary!- Oh and don't forget you can see them very close together any night now.
They will be so close they will almost look like one planet - a 'double planet'. This hasn't happened for over 800 years!
They are low in the south western sky, so you’ll need to be quick - spotting them around 17:00 low down near the horizon. Put the date in your diary and let's hope it is clear that Monday night.
Spot a shooting star!
Between the 4th and the 17th of December there is a meteor shower known as The Geminids (named after the constellation Gemini from where they appear to emanate). The shower peaks on the 13th December, which coincides with the new Moon, meaning they’ll be easier to spot. But look anytime between those dates and you stand a good chance of spotting them.
You will need some patience, but if you have 30 minutes or more to spare on a clear night, especially near the peak of the 13th, then you should spot a number of these tiny fragments of rock. It is remarkable that these tiny grains-of-sand-sized particles put on such a fine display.
You’ll need a lounger, a blanket, a hot water bottle and some whisky. Then watch the Eastern sky. Try not to fall asleep and wake up freezing hours later!
Here is an example of the night sky on the 13th December looking east at 21:00
On the right you will see the prominent constellation of Orion, with the red star Betelgeuse at the
top left- hand shoulder of Orion. To the left of Orion are the two main stars of Gemini, Castor and
Pollux. But don’t worry about trying to spot exact positions or stars, you only need to look east!
At the peak there will be a more than one meteor per minute. Let me know if you spot a shooting
star and if you do, don’t forget to make a wish!
Thank you for reading this blog and do let me know if you spot a shooting star! firstname.lastname@example.org