NASA’s probe captures “brilliant conjunction” of photos of Jupiter and Saturn from the moon

The probe orbiting the moon had a stunning close-up view of the “great conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn from Earth’s rocky satellite.



The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured a picture of the great connection between Jupiter and Saturn in 2020.


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The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured a picture of the great connection between Jupiter and Saturn in 2020.

On Monday (December 21), Jupiter and Saturn appeared closer in the night sky than they had in about 800 years during what is known as the “great conjunction.” People all over the world observed and photographed the planets, which in the sky looked almost like one bright “star”. However, we Earthlings were not the only ones who had a celestial idea.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which was launched in 2009 and has enough fuel to orbit the Moon for another six years, has spotted a cosmic event ever since the Moon.

Related: This is what Jupiter and Saturn from Mars look like

The Lunar Reconnaissance Camera (LROC) narrow-angle camera captured an incredible image of the two planets just hours after the point of closest pair separation (0.1 degrees) that occurred on the TC. Now, although Jupiter and Saturn may have looked like one glowing sphere to the naked eye, you can clearly distinguish individual planets with a detailed view of NAC. In fact, the image provides so much detail that you can even barely see Saturn’s rings.

Here on Earth, sky observers could see Jupiter’s moons with DSLR cameras and even basic telescopes, although Saturn’s rings were usually only visible with higher-power telescopes.

When NAC recorded this image of the two planets, Jupiter was about four times brighter than Saturn, so the brightness of the original image was adjusted to make both equally visible.

Although Jupiter and Saturn are closely related once in 20 years, the planets have not appeared so close since 1623. In addition, the alignment of the planets came only a few days before Christmas, and many called the bright event a “Christmas star”, adding even more to the astronomical excitement.

Email Chelsea Gohd to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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