Circling Giants

Another small taste from upcoming Astronomical Calendar 2016

Jupiter-saturn conjunctions

This is really just a filler created for a corner of one of the pages about Saturn. By way of explanation, here is the caption I’ve just written for it:

“Jupiter overtakes Saturn at intervals of about 20 years. Each time, Saturn has progressed 2/3 of the way around the circle. These heliocentric conjunctions take place around longitudes 60 [degrees], 180, and 300, in the directions of Aries-Taurus (as in 2000), Virgo (1981), and Sagittarius-Capricornus (1961 and 2020). As seen from Earth, what happens depends on where we are in our short rapid orbit. In 1981, the planets were almost simultaneously at opposition (March 26 and 27): that is, we overtook them close to the time when one was overtaking the other. So there was a magnificent triple conjunction: Jupiter appeared to overtake Saturn, retreat past it, and overtake again (Jan. 12, Feb. 19, July 30), each time passing little more than a degree to the north. On 2000 May 31 we were unfavorably near the opposite side of the Sun, and there was a single geocentric conjunction, low in the morning sky. There will be a single close conjunction in Dec. 2020, a little higher in the evening sky, and a single wider conjunction in Nov. 2040, in the morning twilight.”

By the way, the website for the new Astrpnomical Calendar should be up this afternoon.


6 thoughts on “Circling Giants”

  1. I will miss the astronomical calendar after next year. Thanks You, Guy, for all the years of astronomy knowledge and news. I’ve been receiving the calendar since sometime around 1980 when I first joined the Astronomy Book Club. If you are retiring, best wishes and enjoy !!!

    1. Thank you very much, Charles. I’m not retiring, since self-employed people don’t need to retire, and I intend to go on with my orojects minus the deadline-driven one. Way back, my intention was not to get into a life of producing a yearbook; it was to drop out and wander in Asia.

    1. Whoa, there , Carlos!… Did I miss something? Who said anything about a final issue. I certainly hope not! Keep it up Guy. Don’t let us down. Oh,,, now I see, clicking onto the link. I’ll sure be missing it :(

      1. But as I say on the new web page for Astronomical Calendar 2016:
        The blog, unlike the Astronomical Calendar, will continue for ever. Or at least into 2017 and to for instance the total eclipse of the Sun that will sweep across the U.S.A.
        The blog will also, if Guy has his way, surprise or shock you with a mixture of non-astronomical topics. Check its “index” tab for previous posts of interest, such as about the Multiverse, Sumerian constellations, Long John Sil

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