New Delhi, Sep 17, 2021: Months after the Great Conjunction, when Saturn and Jupiter aligned together in their orbits, forming a rare astronomical event visible from Earth, in places even with the naked eye, the largest planet in the Solar System is set for another cosmic event. On September 17, 18 the Moon will be in conjunction with Saturn and Jupiter, respectively.
The first conjunction will appear on September 17 when the Moon and the ringed planet Saturn align with each other in the night sky. The Moon-Saturn conjunction will begin at 02.33 GMT today and as the natural satellite passes three degrees 45 inch to the south of Saturn — both celestial objects will be located in the constellation Capricornus.
Astronomers have said that the ringed planet will appear faint in the night sky with a magnitude of only 0.2, however, it can be seen as a speck close to the Moon and if you have a telescope, it will have an enhanced view of the system.
Moon-Jupiter conjunction on September 18
After you are done with the Saturn conjunction, the next celestial event will see the biggest planet in the solar system come close to the Moon on September 18. Jupiter will be seen next to the Moon after midnight in the east-northeast sky. Both the Moon and Jupiter will remain close to each other throughout the night.
Jupiter had recently made headlines for a major impact event and if you have a powerful telescope trained towards the planet try and look for impact scars on the gas giant. Apart from Jupiter, skywatchers will also be able to get a glimpse of the Jovian system with its four moons hanging around the largest planet.Stargazers will be able to spot not just the planet but the biggest Moon in the solar system Ganymede as well. Meanwhile the three other moons io, Europa and Callisto will appear as forming an isosceles triangle.
What is a conjunction?
A conjunction is an event when two or more objects come close to each other or appear close to each other in the sky. According to EarthSky, objects are said to be in conjunction in that instant when they have the same right ascension on our sky’s dome.
Conjunction is derived from a Latin word that means to join together. Conjunction is divided into two types: inferior conjunction and superior conjunction. Inferior conjunction is when an object passes between the Earth and the sun, meanwhile, superior conjunction is when an object passes behind the sun from our point of view. However, at times the conjunctions do not involve the sun and appear close to each other in the sky.
These conjunctions occur both annually and at times on a monthly basis as these objects move in their own orbit relative to Earth around the Sun. While the objects appear close, they are separated by millions and at times billions of kilometres in the vastness of Space.
How to see Moon-planet conjunction?
In order to get a peek at the Moon-planet conjunctions, the most important thing is to know the time and location based on where you are.
At times it might happen that the conjunction might take place during the daytime at your location. You should also know the trajectory of the object so that if you miss the conjunction, you will still be able to watch the two objects close to each other. Having a telescope will definitely help.