(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –A very rare celestial phenomenon will take place on Monday (21) when the 2 biggest planets of the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn comes closure to each other probably appearing them as a big elongated single planet, the University of Colombo, Physics Department Professor and Astronomy and Space Science Unit Director Professor Chandana Jayaratne said.
“You can look at the Western skies after the Sunset and you will see the 2 planets are gradually coming closer to each other and the closet approach will occur on 21 December when the 2 planets will be separated by just about one-tenth of a degree or 6.1 arc minutes. The last time these 2 planets appeared so close was 397 years ago, on 16 July, 1623, when they were only 5 arc minutes apart. We will get another 6-arc minute separation on 15 March, 2080,” Professor Jayaratne added.
On 21 December, the 2 planets will set down at 8.14 PM.
Therefore, to watch this spectacular event, it is better to select a place where you can see the Western skies clearly without much trees or buildings.
About 30-minutes after the sunset, say from 6.30 PM – 7.30 PM period, look at the Western skies closer to the horizon and towards somewhat North-West direction, observers may see the 2 planets, perhaps as a double star or an elongated ball of light.
Naked eye observation is possible or you may use a binocular.