December 22nd, 2020, 5:10 p.m. local time
We begin today with a weather recap.
- Sunday December 20th – hazy conditions, but planetary viewing was possible
- Monday, December 21st – full cloud cover with drizzle
- Tuesday, December 22nd – clear with only intermittent clouds
So this past night provided an opportunity to see the two gas giants side-by-side. I used my small Mak-Cass 127mm telescope, which I had not used, I think, at all this year except possibly for one solar viewing.
This was a somewhat rushed setup, knowing I wouldn’t have a lot of time, and not knowing if I could get both Jupiter and Saturn in the same telescopic view. The telescope’s final position was pointed well under 15 degrees. I used the telescope’s stock 23mm eyepiece, with no magnification. I was delighted to see both planets, along with all four of the Galilean moons, visible in the same field.
Anticipating a good sighting, I had already attached my iPhone to my eyepiece mount. The best result is above showing the full eyepiece view. Here are the objects zoomed in:
…and here is Saturn zoomed in even more, with some minor image corrections in PaintShop Pro:
For a quick iPhone image at the telescope, this view of Saturn turned out incredibly well.
Sunday’s view of the conjunction wasn’t terribly interesting, but this last one was different. Seeing both planets side-by-side on this cold and clear evening, and together through the telescope, definitely ranks up with the other notable astronomical observations in 2020.