Google celebrated the launch of a new animated doodle on the 2020 Winter Solstice and the Great Conjunction of the Sun and Earth on Monday with a team from NASA.
The Great Conjunction shows a caricature of Saturn and Jupiter meeting at a rapid high – five and a half and literally snow-covered earth – to look at the other two planets. On its website, Google Doodle explained that the graphic celebrates the double sighting of the planet, which can be viewed from anywhere in the world. The animated Google Doodle shows a photo of the sun, Jupiter, and Earth with a ‘literally snow-covered’ Earth watching and looking at them. It shows the Great Conjunction, where Saturn and Jupiter meet in a fast high five, and a video of it with the Sun and Earth in the background.
The Great Conjunction, in which Saturn and Jupiter meet at a moment in the fifth, is also called the poinsettia of 2020. The cosmic phenomenon occurs on the same day, called the Great Conjunction, when Saturn, visible to the naked eye, is so close to the Sun and Earth that it is visible from anywhere in the world. It is one of the most famous astronomical events of all time, and the animated Google Doodle shows a caricature of Saturn at a rapid high – five and a half and literally snow-capped earth – to look at the other two planets, which are literally seen as the ice shadow on Earth by the winter solstice.
The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and the longest day in the northern hemisphere, from December 21 to 23. Solstices occur when the sun is farthest from Earth at a distance of about 2,500 km. The North reaches its peak of darkness on December 20, with a peak of darkness around 2.30 pm local time. In contrast, the southern hemisphere reaches its highest position on Christmas Eve, December 22, 22, and 23, while the northern hemisphere reaches its highest position on January 1.
This means that the length of the day at the winter solstice is the shortest day in the northern hemisphere, from December 21 to 23, and the longest day in the southern hemisphere on January 1. The sunsets at around 2.30 pm local time, dragging down the time it takes to set.
On this long night in 2020, an incredible astronomical event, the Great Conjunction, will be visible. December 21 marks the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, and the last time this event lasted as long as it would have been was nearly 800 years ago, with major conjunctions generally occurring every 20 years. In view of this, you might think that the 2016 winter solstice would be the longest night in history, but no.
Jupiter and Saturn will dance around the planet, which will lead to a grand contract at sunset on December 21. To track these two events, Google has teamed up with NASA to create an animated doodle showing the grand conjunction with the cartoons of Saturn and Jupiter reaching a rapid altitude – five, with a literally snow-covered Earth, seen from the other two planets. Most remarkable is the presence of the Great Conjunction, something that hasn’t happened in nearly 800 years.
To be clear, the Astronomy Club will host a “stardial” to share the wonders of the winter solstice in the night sky. Join us on December 21 at 7 pm for a special nocturnal to celebrate the winter solstice and the Great Conjunction.
Learn more about the difference between astronomical seasons and meteorological seasons and find equinoxes and solstice dates for 2020 and 2021. The solstice is when the sun reaches the southernmost or northernmost point in the sky, while the equinox is when it passes the equator of the earth. As the seasons progress from summer to autumn and winter to winter, the sun moves from its high point above the head at noon to its farthest point south of the horizon at midday on the winter solstice, to rise higher at midday on the summer solstice, and then back to its farthest point north at sunset. At the winter solstices, the apparent position of our sun in front of the starry background reaches its “southernmost” point.
The further north from the equator, the less sunlight you get, and the longer the night. As the winter solstice approaches, there is a period of daylight hours that becomes shorter and shorter before lengthening again to the solstices. The sun takes time to take an angle when the ground sets and then begins to grow longer at the winter solstice, but the sun does not need time for the angle to change as it approaches or approaches.
This means that it is closer to the winter solstice, which means that you can enjoy it longer and the longer the sunsets are.