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The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

Actualizado: 20 ene 2021

On December 21, 2021, the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn took place, expected by all the fans, but illusion truncated at least for the people of Madrid, due to quite bad weather conditions.

As the forecasts were bad for the 21st, I decided to try and capture the conjunction the day before, which, although also cloudy, seemed to be somewhat better.

To photograph Jupiter and Saturn behind the clouds, the only option was to use an infrared filter, thus giving up color. But less is nothing, and after waiting 800 years since the previous conjunction with the planets so close at night, something had to be done!

The photograph is the result of stacking a short video, in which Jupiter and Saturn let themselves be seen behind the clouds thanks to the filter and 0.5s exposures. The infrared filter used lets the light pass through from 742nm, and therefore eliminates all color.

In the photograph, Jupiter and Saturn are seen at 0.1° distance, and although it was taken the day before the minimum distance occurred, they were seen a little closer. Besides the giants, the satellites of Jupiter are clearly seen, from left to right: Callisto, Ganymede, Io and Europa.

On the left of Callisto, the star HIP 99314 of magnitude 7.45 can be seen very faintly, but the density of the clouds did not allow us to see, for example, Saturn's largest satellite, Titan, with magnitude 8.40.

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