In December, a real astronomical highlight awaits us, with a very close encounter between the planets Jupiter and Saturn, before the year 2020 ends. Already at the beginning of December the two planets form a beautiful pair in the evening sky, but where they still have an apparent distance of more than 2° in the sky. By December 10th, this apparent distance will shrink to 1°13’and the two will be very noticeable in the evening sky. With my equipment (Mak 127/1500 + Canon 500D) it will be really interesting from December 16, because the two planets will be here together on one photo for the first time. With the 2x-barlow lens, this will be possible for the first time on December 19, when the two are only an apparent distance of 0°14′ in the sky. The days around the smallest apparent distance on December 21, with only 0°06, will be extremely interesting and exciting because I have not yet been able to observe such a close encounter between these two planets. So especially from December 20th to December 22nd, I will definitely try to take some pictures with the 2x-barlow lens. This enables detailed photos of the two objects. Jupiter with its structures and moons and also Saturn with its open rings will certainly look great on photos together. Visually and with less focal length, this encounter will certainly also be very interesting, since the two planets can no longer be separated with the eye around December 21, 2020. They then probably form a slightly elongated, brighter object in the sky. No matter in which way, a special sight. In the following observation report, to which I will add photos from time to time, I will capture the more detailed photos through the telescope as well as the way I perceive it visually with my eyes.
20th December 2020 – Apparent visually distance: 00°09′
18th December 2020 – Apparent visually distance: 00°21′
9th December 2020 – Apparent visually distance: 01°20′
5th December 2020 – Apparent visually distance: 01°45′
28th November 2020 – Apparent visually distance: 02°30′
The apparent visually distance between Jupiter and Saturn is now 2°30′. On the left a photo taken with 80 mm focal distance, on the right with 300 mm focal distance (Canon 500D)
23rd November 2020 – Apparent visually distance: 03°00′
The apparent visually distance between Jupiter and Saturn is now 3°. On the left a photo taken with 55 mm focal distance, on the right with 80 mm focal distance (Canon 500D)
10th November 2020 – Apparent visually distance: 04°17′
21st September 2020 – Apparent visually distance: 07°51′
28th August 2020 – Apparent visually distance: 08°20′
Graphic representation – Closest encounter of Jupiter and Saturn on 21st December 2020
Here is a representation of how the encounter with the Maksutov (127 / 1500mm) + Canon 500D will look like. Right the whole thing with a 2x-barlow lens (Stellarium).
I hope you all will enjoy this this close encounter with some wonderful experiences and photographs!