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Google Doodle For The Winter Solstice & Great Conjunction

Today, Google has not just the change of seasons logo for the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere but also one for the great conjunction – all in one. The great conjunction is a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn, when the two planets appear closest together in the sky.

Here is the winter version GIF:

Here is the summer version GIF:

The last time we had a great conjunction like this, this close was hundreds of years ago. There is a debate between 400 or 800 years.

Google wrote that NASA helped contribute to the Doodles. Google added:

As Earth’s Northern Hemisphere hunkers down for winter and its longest night of the year, it seems Jupiter and Saturn have decided to put on quite an unusual show for the world to see!

The two largest planets in our solar system will nearly overlap to form a “double planet,” an event that hasn’t been easily visible since the Middle Ages—almost 800 years ago. Today’s animated Doodle celebrates the Northern Hemisphere’s first day of winter as well as this rare double planet sighting–or “Great Conjunction”–which can be viewed from anywhere around the globe!

So what exactly is creating this celestial phenomenon? Based on their orbits, from our vantage point on Earth, Jupiter and Saturn will cross within .1 degrees of each other (a fraction of the width of the full moon), a once-in-a-lifetime rendezvous recreated in the Doodle artwork. But looks can be deceiving, as the two gas giants will actually remain a vast distance of approximately 450 million miles apart!

Make sure you look out low above the horizon tonight and take in this momentous meet-and-greet between Jupiter and Saturn–it’s sure to be out of this world!

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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