A shooting star illuminates the winter night sky near the end of the year, and a space show takes place in hundreds of years with Jupiter and Saturn, the largest planets in the solar system.
According to the Korea Astronomical Research Institute and the astronomy community on the 8th, the meteor shower of Gemini will hold a shooting star space show in its peak on the 14th, and on the evening of the 21st before Christmas, Jupiter and Saturn appear to be the closest after the Middle Ages.
A meteor shower is a phenomenon in which an asteroid or a comet is crushed by the attraction of the sun, and when sand or gravel-sized debris scattered in outer space meets the Earth’s orbit, it is sucked into the atmosphere and burned, sprinkling a shooting star.
The Gemini meteor shower, named because the meteor shower’s radiation point (a point in the sky where the shooting star’s trajectory begins) is Gemini, is a shooting star phenomenon created by the debris of the asteroid ‘3200 Phaethon’.
According to the Astronomical Research Institute, the peak of the Gemini meteor shower this year is 9:50 am on the 14th, and the maximum expected number of shooting stars is 150 per hour. It is not possible to observe the maximum due to the peak of the day, but it is expected to be suitable for the observation of a shooting star because it is dark from the previous night to this night.
It is good to see the meteor shower with the naked eye in an open field, with no light pollution around it. If you use a telescope, your field of view becomes narrower, so you’re more likely to miss a shooting star.
When observing meteor showers in winter, one thing to pay attention to is preparation for the cold. In case the temperature drops sharply at night and the wind is strong, you should thoroughly prepare for the cold, such as winter clothes, blankets, and hot drinks.
On the night of the 21st, you can see Jupiter and Saturn approaching closer than the diameter of the full moon in the southwestern sky.
According to the Astronomical Research Institute, Jupiter and Saturn will approach within 0.1 degrees at 6:30 pm on this day. You can observe the two planets approaching closely for 3-4 days before and after this day.
In the astronomical and space magazine Sky & Telescope, Professor Patrick Hartigan, an astronomer at Rice University in the United States, said, “Jupiter and Saturn line up side by side about once every 20 years, but the two planets seem to merge like this. It is the first time since March 4, 1226.”
Jupiter and Saturn are getting closer and closer to each other since summer. From the 16th to the 25th of Christmas, the two planets will be closer than the diameter of the full moon when they are closest to each other every night.
Professor Hatigan said, “On the 21st, the two planets will be only about a fifth of the diameter of the full moon. Those who observe with a telescope will be able to observe Jupiter and Saturn as well as the large moons of the two planets from one view. I will be able to do it.”