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Animated Google Doodle showcases the winter solstice and ‘great conjunction’

Google, in collaboration with NASA, has replaced their homepage logo in the Northern Hemisphere with an animated Doodle celebrating the winter solstice and suggesting that you keep your eyes to the skies for the current “great conjunction” of Saturn and Jupiter.

This year, December 21 marks the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, and on this longest night of 2020, an incredible, astronomic event known as the “great conjunction” will be on the display. The great conjunction is a visual overlap of Saturn and Jupiter, our solar system’s two biggest planets, in the night sky.

More specifically, Saturn and Jupiter will be within .1 degrees of each other. While the great conjunction occurs roughly every 20 years, the last time the event was as easily visible in the sky as it will be for this winter solstice was nearly 800 years ago.

To mark the two occasions, Google has collaborated with NASA to craft an animated Doodle depicting the great conjunction as cartoon Saturn and Jupiter meeting up for a quick high five, and the winter solstice as the literally “snow capped” Earth watching the other two planets.

Google and NASA have provided some tips on how best to see this spectacular great conjunction tonight — specifically December 21, 2020, the night of the winter solstice.

  • Find a spot with an unobstructed view of the sky, such as a field or park.
  • An hour after sunset, Jupiter will look like a bright star and be easily visible in the southwestern sky. Saturn will be slightly fainter and will appear slightly above and to the left of Jupiter until December 21, when Jupiter will overtake it and they will reverse positions in the sky.
  • Feel free to use binoculars, but the planets can still be seen with the unaided eye.

More Google Doodles:

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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